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PUSH for Excellence hosts 19th Annual Scholarship Breakfast

January 22, 2009

From the Horrors of Slavery to the Joys of Emancipation, to the Ultimate Victory of Inauguration: “A Dream Has Been Fulfilled”

“It is fitting that President Barack Obama assumed the nation's highest office one day after Dr. King's birthday was celebrated as a national holiday,” said Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “Many will view America’s first black president as the culmination of the modern Civil Rights Movement, a struggle most often identified with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Due to the historic significance of President Obama’s inauguration, the 19th annual PUSH-Excel Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast will be held on January 26, 2009 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water Street, Chicago.

Celebrating what would have been Dr. King’s 80th birthday, PUSH for Excellence (PUSH Excel) will present deserving high school and college students from across the nation with scholarships.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and Untied Federation of Teachers will both be special guest speakers.

Dr. Malveaux, who was appointed PUSH-Excel President late last year, has been a committed activist and civic leader for many years. She is an accomplished syndicated columnist whose public dialogue on issues such as race, culture and gender influence public opinion.

In 2008 PUSH for Excellence raised $457,200 in scholarship funds helping to send approximately 200 students to four-year universities including Morehouse, the University of Southern California and DePaul University.

“Each year we try to make a concerted effort to increase scholarships so more deserving students can go to college,” said Dr. Bonita Carr, national director of education for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “Thankfully, the dollar amount we’re able to award has steadily increased over the years through the generous contributions of our supporters.”

Immediately following the breakfast, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will host a job fair at the organization’s headquarters. The job fair offers community members seeking employment -- including returned veterans and ex-offenders -- the opportunity to meet with representatives of leading companies.

“We host this job fair in the tradition of Dr. King of not only educating the people but fighting for access to equal employment opportunities as well,” says Rev. Jackson.

Since 1975, PUSH-Excel has sought to encourage students and their parents to strive toward academic excellence, and to make education and the development of America’s youth a shared community function. Annually, PUSH-Excel expands educational opportunities to youth across the nation by providing academic scholarships, testing and college preparation, oratorical competitions, and juvenile mentoring and early intervention programs.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson, please call the numbers listed above.