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June 17, 2012

Rev. Jesse Jackson Responds to the Death of Rodney King

“We are saddened by the passing of Rodney King. I came to know him across the years and recently interviewed him about a new book he was writing. His life seemed to be on a high note. Rodney’s death creates a great measure of sadness. He had become a fixture in our lives through both the tragedy and triumphs of his life. The unintended consequences of a tragic beating that befell him illuminated the darkness of racial profiling and an unjust judicial system. He was profiled, beaten and discredited with the cameras capturing his story.

The police beat him in full view of the cameras, yet the perpetrators walked away. From Rodney’s beating to the killing of Trayvon Martin, there remains a great, unbroken line of racial discrimination.

This racist act--the beating of Rodney King--exposed the continuing moral failure of racial discrimination, which has not gone away. Remember the hero, the redemptive actor in this tragedy, was not the victim Rodney King, but George Holliday who filmed the beating and took it public out of an act of conscience.

We thank God for the use of Rodney King’s life to lift us to a higher degree of consciousness. Let the burden upon the living be to continue the struggle so that the days of racial injustice will end. Let us answer Rodney’s pressing question: yes, we all can get along.”

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