Barber Eric Mohammad and customer Mark Sims. Photo Credit: Cedars-Sinai's Smidt Heart Institute.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Announces His Battle with Parkinson's Disease

Civil rights leader, Baptist minister and politician Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. announced on Twitter Friday afternoon his personal struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Jackson, 76, said in a statement that he and his family started noticing changes about three years ago when he found it difficult to do routine tasks. He visited doctors for a series of testswhen he could no longer ignore the symptoms.

“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue of Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested by father,” the statement reads. “Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it. For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign, but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”

Jackson said the diagnosis is personal but also “an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for the disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million people worldwide.”

Jackson, who as a young aide began his involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., became a leading national spokesman for African Americans.

In 1996, he formed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a nonprofit organization that seeks to “protect and defend civil rights” and “promote peace and justice around the world.” Jackson has led the organization in staunchly advocating for diversity in Silicon Valley. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000.

The civil rights leader has been a keynote speaker at several DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity announcement dinners. In 2015, Jackson told more than 900 corporate senior executives from around the country to fight for diversity and inclusion.

“As you fight for diversity, you are the driving force in driving a company into the future,” he said. “We changed the South by diversifying opportunities. It is a better South. Inclusion leads to growth. When there’s growth, everybody wins.”

Most recently,Jackson spoke to an audience of diversity and inclusion executivesat DiversityInc’s fall event in September.

Read Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.’s complete statement below:

Latest News

asian-american bias

New Study Reveals That 80% of Asian Americans Feel Regularly Discriminated Against

Even in the midst of AAPI Heritage Month, a new study reveals that 8 in 10 Asian Americans believe they are regularly discriminated against in the United States. NPR’s Dustin Jones has reported that in a recent survey commissioned by the new nonprofit, Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change…


4 Maryland HBCUs Awarded $577 Million Settlement in State Discrimination Case

Following a 15-year court battle, the state of Maryland has reached a settlement in a case alleging that it had discriminated against four historically Black universities and colleges, segregating and making it harder for them to compete with other nearby predominately white schools.  Bryn Stole of the Baltimore Sun has…

Kerby Jean-Raymond

First Black American Designer to Show Collection at Paris Couture Week 

When Kerby Jean-Raymond’s looks walk the fashion runway this July at Paris Couture Week, the designer will be making history, becoming the first-ever Black American designer to present a collection at the acclaimed event — often described at the absolute pinnacle of global high fashion. Kristen Rogers of CNN has…

Southern Company Gas’ Kim Greene in Conversation With the Coca-Cola Company’s Lisa Chang for AAPI Heritage Month

Originally published on Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Southern Company Gas CEO Kim Greene sat down with Lisa Chang, the Global Chief People Officer for The Coca-Cola Company for the latest…