CHICAGO—A Statement from the Chicago Teachers Union on the decision of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. to step down as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition:

Since Rainbow PUSH’s inception, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has stood as a beacon of light for all those that seek to ensure true liberty, justice and fairness for all. Whether it be his work releasing American hostages abroad or his willingness to stand with educators on strike in Chicago for the schools our kids deserve in 2012 and 2019, Jackson has brought a sustained opposition to machine politics and has been an anchor to our multiracial, multiethnic and multigenerational coalition.

From electing Brandon Johnson as Mayor of Chicago to the fight against Rahm Emanuel, Rev. Jackson was always there, standing up and fighting back for working families and working people. Carrying forward the Bayard Rustin Freedom Budget, crafted in 1965, Jackson’s work for those who work for living has been the hallmark of his career.

For the union educators in this city, Rev. Jackson has been instrumental in legitimizing our struggle, fighting back against race based school closings and the firing of Black educators, centering the needs of our students and uplifting leadership of our union—and for that we are grateful.

“With his brave run for President of the United States in 1984 and 1988, Rev. Jackson charted a new course for Black liberation in America,” said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU president. “Through that one courageous and revolutionary step, Jackson empowered Black America and created a new generation of leadership that included individuals like myself. He told me it was possible that a Black woman could run this union and in the process change this city for the better.”

While his role as president of Rainbow Push will now be passed on to the next generation of leadership, we know we can still count on Rev. Jackson, an international civil rights icon, to have our back on our march toward equity and justice for the people of Chicago.

As we begin to write this new chapter for Chicago and battle for the soul and humanity of America, it is critical that we ‘Keep Hope Alive’ for our community, our democracy and all those that are working to preserve it.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 300,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at