The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund are bringing Silicon Valley to Chicago this summer for the human rights organization’s 45th annual International Convention – “A More Perfect Union: From Freedom to Voting Rights to Economic Justice” – at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, June 25 through June 29.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, will be the keynote speaker at the business luncheon. Over the course of the five-day conference there will be STEM demonstrations, a hack-a-thon, robotics workshops, a technology career fair and coding demonstrations by PUSH Excel students.
“There is no talent deficit,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of Rainbow PUSH, said. “There is – from Wall Street to Silicon Valley – an opportunity deficit.”
Jackson and Rainbow PUSH aim to help diversify and transform Silicon Valley to mirror America’s multicultural population. Their hard work is paying off. This week, Twitter named Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, to its board of directors. “We never knew how good baseball could be until everybody could play,” Jackson said. “Where there is inclusion, there is growth, and where there is growth, everybody wins.”
This year’s convention will also commemorate 50 years in the struggle for social, racial and economic justice, from Jackson’s appointment in 1966 by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as director of Operation Breadbasket, the economic arm of the Civil Rights Movement. “We’ve never stopped doing Dr. King’s work,” Jackson said. “But everything we’ve fought for is under attack – voting rights, economic justice, a quality education for all. All roads lead to November 8 – the presidential election. We must turn out and vote in record numbers. The future of our country depends on it.”
Other convention highlights include the International “Lifting as we climb” Women’s Luncheon, a youth peace rally, a gospel concert, featuring the Grammy award-winning, The Sounds of Blackness, Labor Breakfast, Minister’s Luncheon and Sports Banquet. There will be workshops on diversity, technology, the auto industry, business and investment opportunities in Africa, education, health care, hip-hop, the scourge of wrongful convictions, a leadership roundtable, Decision 2016, and a social justice institute for ministers.
Convention activities for Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 will be held at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s national headquarters, 930 E. 50th Street, in Chicago. Activities for Monday, June 27 through Wednesday, June 29 will be held at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. King Drive, Chicago.