Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual Convention

C-SPAN video

June 28 - July 2, 2019 in Chicago, IL.

6 1/2 CANDIDATES: Biden, Buttigieg, Gabbard, Klobuchar, Warren, Williamson and de Blasio introducing his wife.

Background: This convention relatively drew a relatively sparse showing of presidential candidates, as some big name candidates who had been invited did not attend.  Considerable attention focused on Vice President Joe Biden's appearance as it came the day after the first debate, during which he had been bruised by Sen. Kamala Harris for his position on busing.  Biden defended his record.  Also, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign put a spotlight on his remarks; he has been facing pressure following a recent police shooting in South Bend.

Friday, June 28, 2019

12:15 p.m. – Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks for about 15 minutes.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

10:15 a.m. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

10:40 a.m. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

11:10 a.m. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Monday, July 1, 2019

8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Author and peace activist, Marianne Williamson addresses the Health Day Leaders Breakfast.

12:30 p.m. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduces his wife, mental health care advocate Chirlane McCray, the keynote speaker for the convention’s International Women’s Luncheon.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

8:15 a.m. – South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. for a news conference.

8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses the Business Breakfast.

Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Trailblazers, History Makers, Presidential Candidates, Gospel Giants, Sports Legends, Business Leaders and More at the 2019 Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention

This summer in Chicago, as the nation gears up for the most consequential presidential election campaign in generations, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will take its Annual International Convention directly to the people.

From June 28 – July 2, 2019 much of the convention – featuring presidential candidates, foreign dignitaries, elected officials, scholars, sports figures, television personalities, gospel singers, educators, grass roots activists, clergy, hip hop artists and business leaders – will be held in neighborhood union halls, cultural institutions and churches.

There will be major events downtown as well. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, whose vision and drive helped revive his Rust Belt city’s dying central business district and rocketed him near to the top of the crowded Democratic presidential field, will be the keynote speaker at the convention’s Business Breakfast July 2 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, 301 E. North Water Street.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet with Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and other African American community leaders and activists attending this year’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “Rev. Jackson and Rainbow PUSH have been on the front lines of the fight to protect and defend civil rights for a generation. We share in that dedication to freedom and commitment to making democracy work for all people. Leadership is about calling people to their highest values, and Rev. Jackson has spent his life calling our country forward as a better and more just nation.” 

The other leading presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, have also been invited and are expected to attend and speak at various convention sessions.

“We not only need a new president, we need a new condition,” said Rev. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  “Everything we’ve fought for over the last 65 years is in peril.”

The title of this year’s gathering of one of the country’s preeminent civil rights and human rights organizations is “400 Years Later: Repairing the Damage Done, 1619 – 2019.”

The convention, which will include a delegation of more than 100 elected officials, students, diplomats, educators and business leaders from across Africa, is dedicated to the 400-year anniversary of the first documented forced arrival of Africans to English North America.

That epochal event in August of 1619 and the following four centuries of bondage and emancipation, Jim Crow and resistance, assassinations and ascendance to the highest office in the land, will be discussed and analyzed during a special Town Hall, featuring a panel of scholars on slavery and freedom.

The first day of the convention – Friday, June 28 – will be held at the headquarters of the Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll Avenue. Among the sessions will be the Microsoft/PUSH for Excellence (PUSH Excel) tech challenge, featuring local high school students. There will a labor luncheon, an educational summit, a robotics demonstration by the PUSH Excel STEAM students, an oratorical competition and the PUSH Excel education awards dinner.

Saturday, June 29
, will include a Census 2020 Breakfast at Apostolic Faith Church, 3823 S. Indiana Ave. The breakfast will be followed at the church by a special edition of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Saturday morning community forum and international broadcast, a decades long platform for the giants of sports, entertainment, politics and civil rights.

The convention’s second day will conclude with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Love Music Festival & Family Affair, a reunion of old friends and new on the grounds of the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place.

On the evening of Sunday, June 30, the convention returns to Apostolic Faith Church for the Rev. Clay Evans Gospel Concert, featuring some of the country’s top gospel singers.

On Monday, July 1, the fourth day of the convention will be held at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. There will be a Health Breakfast, featuring a “fireside chat” with Rev.  Jackson and executives from CVS. That session will be followed by a Health Plenary to discuss the current state of health care in the U.S. and across the globe.

The always popular and inspiring International Women’s Luncheon will be Monday afternoon as the convention celebrates and honors the growing number of women elected to office and the sweet sound of glass ceilings shattering throughout the country – with the thickest one still to go.

Monday’s sessions will also include a Global Peace, Human Rights & Democracy Forum, an Independent Music Seminar and a Sports Banquet where prominent sports figures and athletic league officials will share stories about life beyond the playing field.

Tuesday, July 2
, the fifth and final day of the convention, includes an address by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Business Breakfast, an International Business Roundtable on opportunities in global investment in technology, a Construction Summit, a panel on Technology & Civil Rights Policy and a Hedge Fund Workshop all at the Sheraton Grand.

The last events of the convention will be at Apostolic Faith Church and include a Clergy Roundtable, a Clergy Luncheon, the Town Hall Reception and panel of scholars – “400 Years Later….”

To register for the convention and for more information go to www.rainbowpush.org.


Media Contacts:
Deborah O. Farmer

Alanna Ford

Chinta Strausberg

Pete for America
July 2, 2019

EXCERPTS: Mayor Pete to Speak at Rainbow PUSH Coalition Convention

Key excerpts as prepared for delivery:


As important as criminal justice reform is, we must outgrow a policy debate that sometimes reduces the Black experience to encounters with the justice system. For every mention of Black victimization in the justice system, we should also be speaking of black empowerment through education and entrepreneurship. For every discussion of so-called “Black problems,” there should be just as much about Black solutions. [...]

That’s why I’m proposing that the United States triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas—particularly ones of color—within ten years. This would create over 3 million new jobs and more than $660 billion in new wealth for Black communities and our country. [...]

I propose that we create a federal fund—modeled on successful programs in states like Maryland—that would co-invest in entrepreneurs of color, particularly in low-income communities.

I believe that by reforming credit scoring, increasing access to credit, and supporting long-term growth, we can increase the number of small businesses in Black communities by 50 percent.

And under my administration, the federal government will set a new and far higher target of awarding 25 percent of its contracts to minority- and women-owned firms. That alone could inject more than $100 billion into communities of color.

When a white elected official is confronted with racial concerns, pundits too often discuss it in strictly political terms. I am asked whether I think I will earn the Black vote, ten times more often than I am asked how my policies would actually benefit Black Americans […]

This is not just a political problem and it is not just a police problem and it is not just my problem or my city’s problem. And it is certainly not a “Black problem.” This is an American problem, demanding nationwide solutions. [...]


This is true of the value over time of a dollar saved. And it is also true of a dollar stolen. Every dollar plundered a hundred fifty years ago costs the descendants of the victim a thousand today. Each year we do not act, the bill grows greater and the cost cuts deeper. Which, contrary to what some seem to believe, means that the fact that some of this theft came a very long time ago does not make it better. It makes it worse. [...]

The policies that created today’s inequality were put in place intentionally, and we need intentional action to reverse these harms—bold and meaningful action that addresses not only the question of safety but the question of prosperity, knowing that the two cannot be separated.


We need to make it easier—not harder—to vote. That means reforms like instituting automatic voter registration, expanding early voting and vote by mail, and even simple things like making Election Day a national holiday. And for the 6 million Americans denied a voice because of a felony conviction, let’s truly welcome them back into society and restore their right to vote. And, by the way, when citizens of a state like Florida overwhelmingly vote to restore those rights, it insults our democracy for the governor to institute a modern poll tax to protect his own party instead of our system of self-government.


In the wake of this tragedy, we are redoubling our partnership with community and civil rights leaders to tear down walls of mistrust between residents of color and law enforcement. We are working to re-assess policies and training, redesign oversight, reimagine recruiting, and transform relationships. We are already underway.  [...]


And none of us is free while any of us does not experience justice from our justice system. No one is free when any among us are disproportionately policed, surveilled, and locked up... If an American can be released from prison only to find himself confined by a paperwork check-box that boxes you out of housing and employment.

I believe that we can and must achieve a 50 percent reduction in incarceration, with no increase in crime. We’ll do that by legalizing marijuana and eliminating incarceration for simple drug possession. We’ll do that by abolishing private federal prisons and putting an end to the petty fines and fees that criminalize poverty. You should not be locked up simply for being poor—and no one should become rich by locking poor people up.


Pete for America

What People Are Saying About Mayor Pete at Rainbow PUSH

“He’s willing to fight for it, willing to show that he’s willing to do the work.” - Athena Jones

“I have never heard the story of the African American opportunity and struggle stated more clearly, with problems and respective solutions, that I have heard today.” - Yusef Jackson

MSNBC: Andrea Mitchell Reports

Shaquille Brewster: “He was very clear about the fact that he has an agenda that not only just addresses all issues, but that is targeted towards African American specifically. He calls it the Douglass plan, so it’s a plan that includes not only reforming how credit is scored so that it increases capital and increases credit opportunities for minority owned businesses, but his plan to direct more federal funds to minority owned businesses so that more money is directed to the African American community.

CNN: At This Hour With Kate Bolduan

Athena Jones: “He’s willing to fight for it, willing to show that he’s willing to do the work.”

South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg says he'd help empower African-Americans economically as president

“I thought he came here prepared today, I thought he was excellent,” Yusef Jackson said. “I have never heard the story of the African American opportunity and struggle stated more clearly, with problems and respective solutions, that I have heard today. I think he is setting a bar for candidates in their understanding and articulation of these specific American issues.” [...]

“He’s changed South Bend, oh yes, for the better, for sure,” Crain said. “It was terrible. It got kind of destitute. We would go there and there was nothing to do, nowhere to go.” [...]

“For me it’s not about race, it’s about the issues and how you address the issues, which is just trying to work with us to understand what our issues are,” she said. “He shows he’s a good listener.”

New York Times: Pete Buttigieg Promises Range of Reforms to Address Systemic Racism

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Buttigieg huddled privately with the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, the civil rights leader and the organization’s founder, in a hotel conference room for more than 20 minutes. [...]

After Mr. Buttigieg’s remarks, many members of the audience rose for a standing ovation.

Henri Sallis, 59, said she was impressed by the plans Mr. Buttigieg had laid out, particularly his ideas on boosting minority-owned businesses.

“He seems like he’s on the right track, but I hope he can stick to it,” said Ms. Sallis, who owns a business in Chatham, a community on the South Side of Chicago.

”I thought he seemed genuine,” said Pattilyn Beals, 34, who works in nonprofit management. “He did some research. I appreciated that. It wasn’t a standard stump speech.”

CNN: Pete Buttigieg: Addressing racial inequalities is a 'matter of national survival'

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that tackling racial inequality is a "matter of national survival" during a speech before an audience of black business leaders in Chicago on Tuesday. [...]

Buttigieg said to the audience on Tuesday that as president he wants to work to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas and create a federal fund that would co-invest in businesses run by people of color, particularly in low-income communities.

Wall Street Journal: Pete Buttigieg Seeks to Move Racial Disparity Discussion Beyond South Bend

Ahead of Mr. Buttigieg's speech, the longtime civil-rights leader told reporters the mayor has “handled an awkward situation well by being transparent.” Mr. Jackson said Americans need to focus more on the broader challenges confronting impoverished blacks. “I think it is a teachable moment for all of us,” he said.

MSNBC: Live With Hallie Jackson

Shaquille Brewster: “If you look at his schedule, we talk about how he needs to build his support with African Americans, but if you look at his schedule he’s had a press conference with Rev. Jesse Jackson earlier this morning, he’s having this business meeting here today, and then later this week he’s going to Essence fest talking to black women. You see he’s trying to reach out and show that he is listening and he’s pitching to these African American voters.”

Associated Press: 2020 hopeful Buttigieg pitches plan to fight systemic racism

He said he would cut incarceration numbers in half by legalizing marijuana and eliminating prison time for simple drug possession. He wants to restore voting rights for some 6 million Americans with felony convictions and supports “bold and meaningful action” on reparations for the descendants of slaves.

Chicago Tribune: 'This is an American problem.’ Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg addresses systemic racism in Chicago speech

Buttigieg said the nation’s policing, health care system, housing and schools all are “burdened by racism," a condition that threatens to undermine the nation’s future.