The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of the foremost civil rights, religious and political figures of our time. For nearly 50 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for peace, civil rights, empowerment, gender equality, and economic and social justice the world over.
Jackson began his activism as a student in the 1960s. In 1965, he became a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was soon appointed by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to direct the Operation Breadbasket program. Jackson founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in Chicago in 1971, and the National Rainbow Coalition in Washington, D.C., in 1984. In 1996, the organizations merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, combining efforts in changing public policy and expanding educational, business and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color.
Jackson campaigned for the U.S. presidency in 1984 and 1988. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo, the highest civilian honor in the United States and South Africa, respectively. In 2010, Jackson was inducted into England’s prestigious Cambridge Union Society.
Jackson will appear in conversation with the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former director of religion at Chautauqua Institution.
The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell is an ordained minister with standing in two Christian denominations, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Baptist Church. She was the first woman to be associate executive director of the Greater Cleveland Council of Churches; the first woman to be executive director of the U.S. office of the World Council of Churches; the first ordained woman to be general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; and the first woman director of religion at Chautauqua Institution.
A devoted activist for peace and social justice, Campbell’s commitment was crafted during her life-changing work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and was deepened in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu referred to her as “a woman of courage and compassion.” Campbell's commitment to growing the global compassion movement is reflected in her work with Charter for Compassion International, serving as chair of the Global Compassion Council.
Campbell’s many honors include the 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award. She is the author of Living Into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This and Prayers From Chautauqua.
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