FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2019
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition Celebrates the 100th Birthday of an American Hero and Founding Board Member: Jackie Robinson
Seven years before the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, eight years before the emergence of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks as leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, Jackie Robinson led the drive to break down barriers of race and ignorance.
“He took the pain and the insults,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. said Thursday as the nation observes what would have been the 100th birthday of the baseball icon and freedom fighter. “He changed the world.”
In 1971, Robinson was a founding board member of Operation PUSH, now known as the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He was also Rev. Jackson’s lifelong idol.
When Robinson died in 1972 at the age of 53, Rev. Jackson delivered “a stirring, 30-minute” eulogy that moved many in New York City’s Riverside Church to shout, according to legendary sportswriter, A.C. Doc Young, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
“Hebrews needed a Moses,” Rev. Jackson said. “Science needed a Louis Pasteur. Indians needed a Gandhi. We needed Jackie Robinson.”
In honor of Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday Thursday please take time to remember this great American and reflect upon his many contributions to the cause of justice and freedom.
In 2005, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. President George W. Bush sat next to Robinson’s widow and fellow freedom fighter, Rachel, as Rev. Jackson was once again given the privilege to “speak for the family” in a moving and powerful address.
“We thank Jackie for teaching us to get better and not bitter – for bitterness blinds,” Rev. Jackson said at the ceremony.
“We thank Jackie for showing us you are not who you are called but rather you are who you are.
“We thank Jackie, a first-class patriot, a second-class citizen, for not giving up on America.
“We thank Jackie for inspiring the left-behind to run faster, for being a light in dark places, and for bringing heat into cold places.
“We thank Jackie for affirming that ‘weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.’
“We may not be responsible for being down but must be for getting up. And when we do God is available; the rope of hope. And no matter how deep the hole, how deep the spikes, how mean the humiliation, we can overcome -- because nothing is too hard for God.
“We thank Jackie Robinson, a transformative force whose life made America better.”
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.