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Rainbow PUSH annual convention goes virtual; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Stacey Abrams among speakers

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition will host its annual convention virtually this year, beginning Sunday at 10 a.m.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of Rainbow PUSH, met with members of the press at Rainbow PUSH headquarters on Monday to share details of the 55th Annual Convention.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of Rainbow PUSH, met with members of the press at Rainbow PUSH headquarters on Monday to share details of the group’s annual convention.
Cheyanne M. Daniels/Sun-Times

After a year off due to the pandemic, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s annual convention returns this year — but in virtual format, with guest speakers from around the country.

This year’s six-day convention theme is “Beyond Freedom to Equality: Leveling the Playing Field in the Era of COVID.” It will focus on social, criminal and legislative roadblocks across the nation.

“We’re facing a crisis,” founder Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., where convention details were announced.

He added that voter suppression laws being passed by state legislatures across the country affect education, health care, women’s rights and the pursuit for racial equity.

“Hope and healing must replace hurt and hate,” Jackson said.

The convention starts Sunday at 10 a.m. with a youth oratorical presentation. Over the course of the week, it will delve into topics including voter suppression, criminal justice, police reform and access to equitable health care.

Scheduled guest speakers include Dr. Anthony Fauci and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, both on Monday, and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia state legislator and gubernatorial candidate, on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Aug. 5, the convention will begin with a video of Jackson receiving the Legion of Honour, France’s highest honor, on July 19 in Paris from French President Emmanuel Macron.

Viewers can watch the convention on the Rainbow PUSH app or website, on Facebook and YouTube Live or at in-person watch parties beginning Monday at Rainbow PUSH headquarters.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.