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March 21, 2012

PUSH Highlights the 40th Anniversary of Gary’s National Black Political Convention

WHO: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, IN; State Representative Lonnie M. Randolph
WHAT: Media Availability

 WHERE:  Rainbow PUSH Coalition
              930 E. 50th Street, Chicago IL 60615 

WHEN: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM
WHY: During the live international broadcast of Saturday Morning Forum, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will commemorate the significance of the  first National Black Political Convention held in March, 1972  and its impact on the  election of blacks to local, state, county and national offices in the United States.  

The National Black Political Convention was held in Gary, Indiana on March 10, 1972 at Westside High School. It convened 8,000 African Americans from labor, film, media, business, faith institutions, civil rights organizations, community based organizations and grassroots organizers from across the United States. Those who gathered at the event developed and published a unified black political agenda that addressed poverty, unemployment and and and the status of blacks elected to city, county and state offices in major urban markets.
Rev Jackson recalls, “Getting the right to vote in ’65 was the beginning of a process, but the convention in Gary solidified the sense of focus. This convention was overwhelming. It could not be turned around.” Rev. Jackson went on to say, “It was important to have it in a city where the first black mayor of a northern city was the host. We couldn’t have had the same convention if the climate had been hostile. Mayor Richard Hatcher was the driving force. He chaired the concept of a national convention into reality.”
Today, as the Republican primaries continue and the 2012 Election Day nears, Rev. Jackson stresses the need for African Americans to reconvene and prepare our platform. We must continue to celebrate the joy of having the White House occupied by President Barack Obama, and at the same time fight to elect Africans to state legislative seats, US Congress and to those county and city offices that implement the national policies. We must think globally and act locally. Our coming together now is essential because in American today blacks remain in the hull of the ship and the water’s rising. There is growing sense of desperation.”
Special guests will include Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary and first ever African-American female elected as mayor in the state of Indiana, former Mayor Richard Gordon Hatcher, as well as Indiana State Senator Lonnie M. Randolph. 

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 or call (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson, please call the numbers listed above.