Faith leaders pray for Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline

The Jacksons were hospitalized Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19.

SHARE Faith leaders pray for Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline
Community activists and faith leaders get signatures for a “get well soon” card for Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, before a prayer vigil and news conference outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Monday morning, Aug. 23, 2021. The Jacksons were admitted Saturday to Northwestern after testing positive for COVID-19.

Community activists and faith leaders prayed for the recovery of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Monday. The Jacksons were admitted Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The Rev. Ira Acree and activists stood outside a hospital Monday, heads bowed in prayer for the recovery of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline, who were hospitalized for COVID-19 over the weekend.

The small gathering called for a national day of prayer on Wednesday to honor the Jacksons for their civil rights work and a speedy recovery.

Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, were admitted Saturday to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for COVID-19 treatment. They remained under observation Monday after family said they responded well to treatment.

“We are ever mindful that COVID-19 is a serious disease, and we ask that you continue in prayer for my parents, as we remain prayerful for yours,” their son Jonathan Jackson said in a statement Monday

Jesse Jackson, who has Parkinson’s disease, received his first dose of the vaccine publicly in January to encourage the Black community and others to receive the immunization. His wife has not been vaccinated, according to longtime family spokesman Frank Watkins. He declined to elaborate Monday.

“When many of us from the various communities of color was skeptical and suspicious about getting the vaccine, it was Rev. Jesse Jackson who took the vaccine to encourage us,” said Acree, a pastor at Greater St. John Bible Church.

A woman signs a “get well soon” card for Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, before community activists and faith leaders hold a prayer vigil and news conference outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Monday morning, Aug. 23, 2021. The Jacksons were admitted Saturday to Northwestern after testing positive for COVID-19.

A woman signs a card for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, before community activists and faith leaders held a prayer vigil and news conference outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Monday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Acree and other leaders prayed for the Jacksons’ recovery and repeated “I am — Somebody,” a poem often recited by Jackson.

“We are in the great civil rights battle of our lifetime,” activist Eric Russell said. “And it is the guidance and leadership of men like Rev. Jesse Jackson that empowers us, strategically, and gives us strength. So I would say to America, please send a prayer for Jesse Jackson.”

Jackson was hospitalized earlier this year for an unrelated gallbladder surgery but has remained active in the fight for civil rights. Last month, he was arrested for civil disobedience during a sit-in at the Phoenix office of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who opposes ending the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

Passersby on the street stopped to sign a card Russell put together for the Jacksons, wishing them good health and wellness.

“Everybody owes Rev. Jackson whether they know it or not,” Acree said. “So, it’s only fair that we show him the same energy he has for us in the fight for equality and justice.”

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