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By Chinta Strausberg

All are invited to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.’s 70th birthday party, dubbed “Milestones and Memories,” Saturday, October 8, 2011, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., Chicago, Illinois, where he will re-launch a ‘War on Poverty.’

Besides birthday cake for the 70-year-old civil rights leader, officials from the Greater Chicago Food Depository will be on hand to distribute 500 food baskets for those labeled “food insecure” based on data released from the Depository.

Rev. Dr. Attorney Janette Wilson, executive director of PUSH, is asking the public to mobilize 70 people who are “food insecure” to receive a food basket this Saturday.

She’s also asking for donations from $100 to $1,000 to buy food for the 500 needy families. During the broadcast, many will praise Jackson for his long civil rights record and to show his life and works during a 50-year span.

Rev. Jackson was born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, S.C., he attended the University of Illinois on a football scholarship but later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated in 1964. Jackson went on to attend the Chicago Theological Seminary and joined the civil rights movement in 1965 as a full-time participant working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On June 30, 1968, Jackson was ordained by Rev. Clay Evans who headed the Fellowship MBC. Jackson earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000.

With 50-years of public service under his belt, Rev. Jackson is still going strong, still fighting for justice for all people, still battling for human rights and economic justice nationally and globally and still one of the nation’s greatest civil rights leaders in America.

We thank Rev. Jackson for the many personal sacrifices he has made on behalf of this nation and the world sacrifices like: being arrested many times in 1960 fighting for equal accommodations in the south including being arrested for trying to use the library which was part of his work as a lead organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and for his work as Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State where he worked for the promotion of democracy in Africa.

We thank you, Rev. Jackson for negotiating the release of Navy Lt. Robert Goodman, Jr. who along with Lt. Mark Lang, was shot down in Beirut, Lebanon. Lang died and Goodman reportedly suffered three broken ribs and other injuries.

Despite a reluctant White House and President Ronald Reagan being against Jackson’s trip to Syria to negotiate the release of Goodman, Jackson went anyway and won his release after taking to President Assad. Goodman was the first Prisoner Of War (POW) since the ending of the Vietnam War. Ironically, President Reagan greeted Jackson and Goodman at the White House on January 4, 1984.

Jackson went on to secure more prisoners from various countries throughout his life including in 1999 when he and then Rep. Rod Blagojevich traveled to Yugoslavia to negotiate the release of three U.S. POW’s.

Thank you, Rev. Jackson, for running for president of the United States in 1984 where he racked up more than 3.5 million votes and registered more than 1 million new voters. That helped to elect more Democrats who regained control of the Senate in 1986 along with the election of other Democrats across the nation.

We thank Rev. Jackson for running again for the presidency in 1988 where he won more than 7 million votes and this time registered more than 2 million voters. Rev. Jackson made history by coming in either first or second in 46 out of 54 presidential contests.

Thank you, Rev. Jackson for being elected in 1990 as the U.S. Senator from Washington, D.C. better known as a Statehood Senator but a senator that by law has no vote in congress.

And in the spirit of Rev. Jackson, besides celebrating his 70th birthday, Jackson will be talking about poverty in America.  According to Rev. Wilson, here are the poverty statistics for Cook County alone.

• In Cook County 30% of the persons that are food insecure are not eligible for federal nutrition programs.  Riverdale (40.8%), Washington Park 34.0%, Englewood and North Lawndale (31.2%); while in Ford Heights (55.5%), l Robbins (45.0% and Dixmoor (38.7% had the highest rate in the suburbs.

• 1 in 4 children—23.5 percent—are food insecure in Cook County.

• After school cafes provide hot meals for children at 67 locations in Chicago.

Often called the “Conscience of America,” Jackson, the author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Straight from the Heart,” is also a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a talk show host on WVON. He continues to raise the issue of poverty, unemployment and labor problems in America.

And, this Saturday, Jackson will be joined by his family, wife, Jacqueline Livinia Brown whom he married in 1963, and his children, WVON’s talk show host Santita Jackson, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Chicago State University Professor and businessman Jonathan Luther Jackson, Yusef DeBois Jackson, a businessman, daughter Jacqueline Lavinia Jackson and all of his grandchildren.

All are invited to Rev. Jackson’s 70th birthday party and on a personal note as a birthday wish to Rev. Jackson, I hope all of those POW’s will attend his birthday bash and just say ‘thank you.’

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

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