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Fathers Honored and the Chicago Defender Celebrated at the Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum

June 20, 2009

To celebrate Father's Day at the Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum, Jonathan Jackson, national spokesman for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and son of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., delivered a message of encouragement and appreciation to fathers around the country.

"Fathers, I encourage you hold your head up," he said during the live international broadcast of the forum. "Stay proud and stay focused on the things that are most important. Don't give up. Your children love you regardless of difficulties you may be facing in life." He went on to explain that, despite the majority of African American households being headed by single black women, there are still great African American fathers.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition honored 11 men during the broadcast with the "Fathers of the Community Award". They were: Alderman Ed Smith of Chicago's 28th Ward; Attorney Ed Burnett, Cook County Public Defender; Rey B. Gonzalez, chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute; Rev. Walter "Slim" Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church; Attorney G. Flint Taylor, People's Law Office; Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Sumner; Bishop Claude Porter, Proviso Missionary Baptist Church; Michael Johnson, principal of Reavis Elementary Math and Science Special School; Johnnie Lee Savory, Advocate for the Innocent; Keith Anderson, executive director of the Homework Hangout; and Michael House, president of the Chicago Defender.

"Men, you play a pivotal role in your child's life," Rev. Jackson said. "If you don't tell them their worth, then they won't know it."

This Saturday was also Chicago Defender Day. The newspaper was founded on May 5, 1905 by Robert Sengstacke Abbott. By the start of World War I, the Chicago Defender was the nation's most influential black weekly newspaper with more than two thirds of its readership base located outside of Chicago. One hundred and four years later, the Chicago Defender is still empowering the community.

House addressed the audience and stressed the pivotal role the paper plays in the black community. "The Defender is the only place that lifts our businesses up and lifts our young people up." He went on to say, "We need your subscriptions, we need your businesses to advertise and most importantly we need you all to read the Defender."

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund's 38th Annual Conference begins next Saturday. During next week's broadcast, Rev. Jackson will be joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Prof. Charles Ogletree of Harvard University; Attorney Janice Mathis, vice president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; and NAACP Executive Director Ben Jealous.

The show will examine the status of the civil rights struggle and will put forth a "Call to Action" agenda identifying goals and how to fight for and win civil and human rights in the era ahead.

The conference runs June 27th-July 1 at the Hyatt McCormick Place, 2233 South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago, IL.

Today's broadcast was dedicated to the family of Lerone Bennett, scholar, author and social historian who served for decades as executive editor of Ebony Magazine. Bennett's wife, Gloria, passed away this week.

Saturday Morning Forum airs at 10 a.m. CST internationally on the Word Network and on CAN-TV and WJYS in Chicago.

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