It’s been my greatest pleasure to sit at the feet of one of Dr. King’s top protégés and learn how to be an effective civil rights advocate. I was privileged to serve as the Rainbow Push west president in the early 2000s. Even in Rev. Jackson’s retirement his legacy continues through the scores of ministers that he taught how to use their pulpits to shape public policy.

 He’s personally invested so much in me, and I owe him a great debt of gratitude. I learned my relentless work ethic from this civil rights icon! I’ve traveled across the country with him, and I’ve witnessed him wake up at the crack of dawn reading newspapers from all across America. No one can analyze the issues of the day quite like him. Even today his body may be on the decline, but his mind is still razor sharp.

I personally want to thank him for teaching me a priceless principle, that regardless of the magnitude of the blows and hits you take in life, that the ground is no place for a champion.

Few people in history can come close to matching the arc of Rev. Jackson’s life.

From sit-ins in the early 1960s; to marching with Dr. King in Chicago and being with him when was assassinated in 1968; to his aggressive campaigning to elect Harold Washington as Chicago’s first Black mayor; to his own campaigns for president of the United States in 1984 and 1988 and for always being on the front lines of history. No one has registered more voters, no one has worked with more civil rights leaders and no private citizen has had more success with negotiating the release of American hostages from hostile territories than Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr.

Thank you to Rev. Jackson for your life-long work of being our hero and champion.

Rev. Ira Acree


Greater St. John Bible Church