Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, announced today that he plans to hold a rally outside the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington in late September to keep the spotlight on the issue of reauthorizing the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Rev. Jackson also disclosed that he will renew his call for civil rights and labor leaders to meet with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and he plans to hold hearings throughout the South to secure testimonies on voter restrictions and voter suppression. All of these efforts, he said, are aimed at encouraging the Department of Justice to enforce the Voting Rights Act and the Bush Administration to reauthorize the Act with protections against discrimination when it comes to race and language. The act, signed 40 years ago on August 6, 1965, expires in 2007.

Rev. Jackson announced these action steps after attracting more than 15,000 people to Atlanta on August 6th for the Keep the Vote Alive: Pro Democracy March and Rally. Among the throngs marching from the Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta to Herndon Stadium on the campus of Morris Brown College, were civil rights leaders, prominent politicians, labor leaders and celebrities. The list of participants included lawmakers Dick Durbin, John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters; labor leaders, John Sweeney and Andy Stern; as well as celebrities such as Willie Nelson and Harry Belafonte. Other dignitaries, such as lawmakers Charles Rangel, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones; recording artists Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, the Indigo Girls and John Legend, as well as comedian and activist Dick Gregory, NAACP President Bruce Gordon and television judge Greg Mathis performed or spoke at the rally.

"We want to have a prayer vigil at the Department of Justice, urging the Attorney General to intervene and stop the violations and to enforce the Voting Rights Act," said Rev. Jackson, who organized the rally. "We also want to conduct hearings across the South to stop voter restrictions and voter suppression, and to advocate for workers' right to organize so they can work their way out of poverty. We want to promote health insurance for all Americans, an end to the Iraq war, and end the resurgence of drugs and guns, and the jail industrial complex."

While many of the dignitaries participating in the historic event praised Rev. Jackson for his vision and commitment to the issue and hailed the march as a success for bringing attention to the concerns surrounding the extension of the Voting Rights Act, Rev. Jackson was reserved in his evaluation, comparing Saturday's achievement to a football game.

"We have made a touchdown, but we have not won the game," he said. "We have the vote, but we don't have protection from discrimination. We have a long way to go."

The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization, which seeks to protect, defend and gain civil rights, even the economic and educational playing fields in all aspects of American life, and bring peace to the world. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. Visit, or telephone (773) 373-3366.

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