We love the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. We’ve declared it in The Washington Informer in the past and we declare it again today. We appreciate his passion for freedom, justice and equality for all. We admire his lifelong dedication and unrelenting fight for the enfranchisement of all. We support his work to open up employment opportunities for all. We stay encouraged by his adage to all youth declaring, “I am somebody!” We have supported his efforts to secure a level playing field with equitable rules that make the game of business fair and just for all. We have been among the beneficiaries of his efforts to abolish inequities practiced by a wide range of corporate entities and we will continue to amplify his creed to all to “Keep Hope Alive.”
We know Rev. Jackson has his critics. We’ve even taken on some of them but nothing has swayed us from our appreciation for his leadership and vision. Most important, we remain grateful for the immeasurable and incomparable sacrifices he has made on behalf of all people, regardless of race, social class, sexual orientation or economic status.
Sadly, over the past two years, it has become quite evident that Rev. Jackson is not his former self. It has become clear that something is awry with his health. His slurred speech, slow gait and stiff body movements say more about his condition than his age, 76. Nonetheless, within the last 30 days, he helped to transport a FedEx planeload of relief supplies to the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; held his annual Rainbow Push Global Auto Summit in Detroit and hosted his annual Rainbow Push Media and Telecom Summit in DC where he was joined by the Motion Picture Association of America in presenting a $5,000 donation to the students of the Richard Wright Public Charter School in D.C.
Just last week, Rev. Jackson cleared the air by sharing the news about his health. He has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease — “a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system.”
We know he is a fighter. We know he has deep faith. We know as he goes through this storm that he will continue to do what he can for others.
“This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that,” he said. “It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million worldwide.”
We know it’s too much to ask Rev. Jackson to take time for himself. It’s not in his DNA.
“I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out,” Jackson wrote.
So let’s keep him and his family in our prayers.