The Crusader Newspaper Group

Son of Rev. and Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson thanks all for prayers

Jonathan Jackson, the national spokesperson for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, thanked thousands who have offered prayers for his parents, Reverend Jesse Jackson and his wife of more than 60 years, Jacqueline Jackson, both of whom remain hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital battling COVID-19.

In giving an update on Wednesday, August 25, Jonathan Jackson said, “First, we want you to know that our parents remain in the hospital and are resting comfortably as they continue their daily treatments for the COVID-19 virus.

“Second, again we feel and are deeply appreciative of the love that is being poured out to our family from around the world, and we want to return that love and concern for the millions of people in the United States and around the world who have been victimized by the COVID-19 virus and its variants. We know this is a serious and dangerous disease, so please remain prayerful for my parents and all those who are suffering as a result.

“Finally, we are grateful for the medical care our parents are receiving, and we are leaving the treatment and medical assessments to the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. If necessary, any medical statements will be made by our family in conjunction with the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital,” Jonathan Jackson said in a statement.

“The status of my parents has not changed,” said Jonathan Jackson, who first publicly confirmed their hospitalization last Saturday, August 21. “We are ever mindful that COVID-19 is a serious disease, and we ask that you continue in prayer for my parents as we remain prayerful for yours.”

And the prayers began to come in, especially from Father Michael Pfleger, a partner in the Civil Rights Movement with Reverend Jackson. “We all continue to wrap Reverend Jackson and his wife in prayer. Reverend Jackson is the consistent thread in the fight for justice.

“Reverend Jackson has been under-appreciated and under-honored, yet he continues to stay the course and stay on the battlefield. We ask God’s complete healing and restoration for him and his amazing wife,” said Pfleger.

Saddened that more children are being caught in the crossfires of gang violence like his own son, Jarvis Franklin, back in 1998 and so many others, Pfleger has launched an anonymous gun buyback program for those 25 years old and younger every Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1210 W. 78th Place. The gun buyback program begins next Monday and Tuesday, August 30 and 31.

Pfleger is offering $100 cash for rifles, $200 for handguns or assault rifles and $20 for high-capacity magazines. No questions will be asked.

“Guns are an integral part of this violence plaguing our city,” said Pfleger. “We must change this love affair with guns and culture and get guns off the streets. We must offer brothers opportunities, other than a life of crime.”

Pfleger and Reverend Jackson have often been arrested together protesting the sale of guns at Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale, and as late as last June Jackson joined Pfleger, marching for peace in the Auburn Gresham community.

Both men recently decried the shootings of several children, including 7- year-old Serenity Broughton, her sister, Aubrey, 6, who was initially fighting for her life and is now home, and Marquise L. Richardson, 14, a recent Saint Sabina Academy graduate who was also a peacemaker at the church shot twice in the head on July 29. He died from his gunshot injuries.

Disturbed over the growing number of youth being killed by gunfire, Pfleger ticked off statistics of children who were shot or killed. “There have been 231 days since January 1. There have been 268 children shot. That is more than one a day in our city. That is unacceptable. That’s bigger than some schools,” said Pfleger.

During a memorial held outside the 35th Street police headquarters for slain Chicago police officer Ella French, Reverend Jackson called for an end to the gun violence and made a clarion call to protect children. He begged shooters to put the guns down.

Pfleger is praying for Jackson—his social justice partner—that he defeats this virus as Jackson has overcome and won many issues affecting the Black community.

Pfleger isn’t alone in wishing Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline, prayers. Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-7th),

who was with Jackson at the August 14 Bud Billiken parade, said he too is praying for the couple’s complete recovery.

“We must pray for Reverend Jackson and Mrs. Jackson, Jackie, to the Almighty, that both be restored so they can provide the leadership, the wit and wisdom that we have benefited from for so long,” Davis said.

He credited Jackson for “having an impact and many influences” on a number of social justice issues “almost on a daily basis in advancing the cause of civil rights, civil liberties.”

“Reverend Jackson has fought to change the quality of life for those stuck at the bottom without the consideration of race, creed or color,” Davis said. “We are praying that he will continue to do that. We just pray that he and his wife are going to be well.”

Having worked very closely with Jackson and having recently been arrested with him fighting for the passage of two voting rights bills, Attorney Barbara Arnwine, founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, said, “Hearts all over the world are praying for the iconic Reverend Jesse Jackson and the fierce and brilliant Dr. Jacqueline Jackson.

“We know that their strong wills, which have paved the way for generations to rise up, will see them through this crisis. The Transformative Justice Coalition family calls upon everyone to uplift Reverend and Dr. Jackson in constant prayer,” Arnwine concluded.

Dr. Zenobia Sowell said a special prayer for Mrs. Jackson who—according to Rainbow PUSH Coalition Director of Public Policy Frank Watkins, and spokesperson for the family,—was not vaccinated and remains on oxygen.

Sowell, who along with Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar, chairman, American Association of Multi-Ethnic Physicians, USA; Dr. Santosh Kumar, executive director, Metropolitan Asian Family Services and hundreds of other Indian leaders, prayed for the power couple that they overcome this virus and return to the civil rights battlefield renewed and ready to resume fighting against the social justice inequities facing the Black community.

“We continue to intercede and keep them in prayer knowing Jesus is a healer,” said Dr. Sowell on behalf of her Indian colleagues.

COVID-19 survivor Omar Shareef, building superintendent for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, director of the PUSH Training and Business program for youth and ex-offenders, and president/founder of the African American Contractors Association is praying hard for the Jacksons. Having spent 22 days in a coma at a South Side hospital battling COVID-19, Shareef said, “I pray to God that he will see them through this hardship. It is a virus that we, the people, and the community cannot take lightly.” Shareef was hospitalized on March 19, 2021, and is charged on June 11, 2021. “I had never been in a hospital in my life,” he said.

“COVID-19 is an experience that you don’t want no one on the face of the earth to go through,” Shareef said. “I hate that this has hit them because it affects us and our organization,” Shareef said. He said people are dropping off flowers and balloons in front of the temporarily closed Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters.

Thanks to the generosity of funding provided by The Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc. in producing this article.

 (Published in the Chicago Crusader Newspaper August 28, 2021)


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