Rutherford Simmons, 12, (right) is speaking at Saint Sabina’s Dr. King celebration Sunday, January 12th, at the 11:15 a.m. worship service.
He will be reciting Dr. King’s “A Letter From the Birmingham Jail.” His twin brother, Nelson (at the mike) will be there to meet Sarah Collins Rudolph,
the keynote speaker who survived the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Her sister, Addie Mae Collins, died along with three other girls.
The KKK bombing injured 22 others. To the extreme right is another PUSH Excel orator, Carleigh Lewis. They had appeared on a WVON show.



January 11, 2020




Chicago, IL — Rutherford Simmons, III, an award-winning 12-year-old twin who is a PUSH Excel oratorical student, will speak at Saint Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Pl, Sunday, January 12, 2010, during the 11:15 a.m. worship service reciting excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “Letters From the Birmingham Jail.”

Simmons will be speaking at the Saint Sabina’s Dr. King’s celebration where keynote speaker, Sarah Collins Rudolph, known as “The Fifth Girl,” will talk about her survival of the September 15, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church where her sister, Addie Mae Collins, died along with three other girls. The KKK’s bombing also injured 22 others.

Simmons is a 7th grade student at the Southwest Chicago Christian School who plays on two soccer teams. He is in a math club and also plays percussion in his school band, according to his instructor, Cook County Judge Stanley Hill, who is the director of the PUSH Excel oratorical program.

Rev. Janette Wilson, national executive director of the PUSH Excel program, an arm of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said, “putting investments into our young people is what they need.”

A proud Judge Hill said he is grateful that Father Pfleger invited Simmons and referred to the bombing of the four girls as “civil rights martyrs whose tragic supreme sacrifice profoundly helped to positively change our nation.”

Simmons twin brother, Nelson, also a PUSH Excel oratorical student, is an actor who recently starred in the Chicago Children’s Theatre’s “The Watsons’s Go to Birmingham—1963.” Nelson wants to meet Rudolph.

As a teenager, on August 5, 1966, Father Pfleger, witnessed Dr. King being cursed and stoned as he marched through Marquette Park protesting housing segregation. That eyewitness to racism and injustice led Pfleger to become a priest.

To honor Dr. King’s memory, Father Pfleger is holding a silent march for peace with blue lights at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Dr. King’s birthday. It was Pfleger who began the annual January 15th Blue Lights for Peace initiative that has been adopted by downtown building managers.


Media Contacts:
Chinta Strausberg
Alanna Ford


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.