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Jesse Jackson is stepping down as head of civil rights organization Rainbow PUSH

CHICAGO (AP) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to step down from leading the Chicago civil rights organization Rainbow PUSH Coalition he founded in 1971, his son’s congressional office said Friday.

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson confirmed the long-time civil rights leader would be retiring from the organization.

The elder Jackson, a civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate, plans to announce his plan on Sunday during the organization’s annual convention, Rep. Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jonathan Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, said his father “has forever been on the scene of justice and has never stopped fighting for civil rights” and that will be “his mark upon history.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who will turn 82 in October, has remained active in civil rights in recent years despite health setbacks.

He announced in 2017 that he had begun outpatient care for Parkinson’s disease two years earlier. In early 2021, he had gallbladder surgery and later that year was treated for COVID-19 including a stint at a physical therapy-focused facility.

Jackson, a protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King, broke with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971 to form Operation PUSH — originally named People United to Save Humanity — a sweeping civil rights organization based on Chicago’s South Side.

The organization was later renamed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition with a mission ranging from encouraging corporations to hire more minorities to voter registration drives in communities of color. Its annual convention is set for this weekend in Chicago.

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