Civil Rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 along with his wife Jacqueline, according to a statement released Saturday by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the non-profit social action organization founded by Jackson in 1971.
According to the statement, both are being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“Doctors are currently monitoring the condition of both. Anyone who has been around either of them for the last five or six days should follow the CDC guidelines,” Rainbow PUSH officials said in the brief release, while saying there were no further updates.
According to the Rainbow PUSH website, Jackson was first vaccinated against coronavirus in January and at the time praised Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett on her work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the Moderna vaccine prior to her moving on to Harvard University.
“What’s clear is that the scientific community and community leaders must reach out and work hard to ensure that African Americans gain the confidence to get vaccinated,” said Jackson. “This won’t be easy. But with the leadership of Dr. Corbett and others, and with a new administration getting serious about providing the resources for mass vaccination and for outreach into the communities most impacted, lives can be saved.”
In 2017, Jackson disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but continued his activism, participating with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition as well as other activities.
Earlier this month, Jackson, 79, was among a group of 200 demonstrators arrested in Washington D.C., as they urged Congress to end its filibuster to protect voting rights and increase the federal minimum wage, The Washington Post reported. Two significant pieces of voting rights legislation had stalled in Congress as Republican state lawmakers in several states had led a push to pass stricter voting laws after the 2020 elections.
He had also been arrested in July at the offices of Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema over her support of the congressional filibuster.
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Jackson, a two-time U.S. presidential candidate, has a nearly six-decade career in global human rights activism and had been an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his 20s, as an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and later, the leader of Operation Breadbasket. He founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago to focus on economic empowerment, business and educational opportunities for marginalized communities.
He married his wife Jacqueline, 77, in 1963 and they have five children together, Santita Jackson, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Jonathan Luther Jackson, Yusef DuBois Jackson, and Jacqueline Lavinia Jackson, Jr., according to the Rainbow PUSH website.