Newswire : Friends, medical community weigh-In on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s diagnosis

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

 

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                                                                   Rev. Jesse Jackson
Last week, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., 76, revealed that he has Parkinson’s Disease.
Rev. Jackson said that this all came about after family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago, and he could no longer ignore symptoms of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.
Rarely do we hear about high profile members in the African American community being affected by Parkinson’s. But make no mistake, Parkinson’s disease is not a White man’s disease. Anyone can get it. One of the most high-profile African-Americans with Parkinson’s was heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali who was diagnosed in 1984 at the age of 42.
Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis caught many by surprise, but those who know him said they’re confident that he’ll overcome the life-threatening challenge before him.
“He’s in the rumble of his life, but he’s rumbled some big foes before,” said Vincent Hughes, a Democratic state senator from Pennsylvania who campaigned for Jackson in 1984 and again in 1988. Hughes said that Jackson’s campaigns were birthed in the Black empowerment movement that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “I’m one of those African Americans, who took office and was a part of that issue of ‘protest to power’ and Rev. Jackson was, in many respects, our leader and he still is.”
More than anyone else, Jackson opened the door for the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Chavis was one of Jackson’s contemporaries during the Civil Rights Movement. “Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., is a living, global civil rights icon. As a colleague in the Civil Rights Movement dating back to the 1960s and under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have personally witnessed the selfless sacrifice and dedication of Rev. Jackson.”
Chavis continued: “For all who have cried out for freedom justice and equality, the news of his Parkinson’s disease should only serve to re-dedicate a movement now for healthcare equality for all, not only as a civil right, but as a human right.”
In his statement about the disease, Jackson recalled his foray into activism, being arrested on July 17, 1960 with seven other college students who advocated for the right to use a public library in his hometown of Greenville, S.C. He said that he remembers the arrest as if it happened yesterday and it was a day that forever changed his life.
“From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access,” said Jackson, whose multiracial National Rainbow Coalition grew out of his work in the 1984 presidential campaign.
He said he resisted interrupting his work to visit a doctor, but his daily physical struggles intensified and he could no longer ignore his symptoms. “After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father,” Jackson said.
Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement saying that he spent time with Jackson and his family in New York, as Jackson made the announcement of his illness. “As I watched him, I was reminded of the greatness of this man,” Sharpton said. “Reverend Jackson has changed the nation and served in ways in which he never got credit.”
Maynard Eaton, a journalist and national director of communications for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Jackson a legendary and fearless civil rights champion. He said the disease may slow Jackson, but won’t stop him.
“Activism and civil rights are in his blood. As a journalist, Jesse Jackson has been a treat and joy to cover and write about,” said Eaton. “He has been a civil rights darling and media maverick…Jesse Jackson is a quintessential and preeminent civil rights activist of our time.”
Even though Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurological condition, it is very treatable, said Dr. Nabila Dahodwala, an associate professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease does not necessarily mean that you must make drastic changes, but every individual is different in how they are affected, how they respond to treatment and how they choose to spend their time,” Dahodwala said.
Ihtsham ul Haq, an expert in neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said he believes Jackson will do well. “Though each patient’s journey with Parkinson’s disease is a little bit different, thankfully for many the symptoms are often well-managed with medication, said Haq. “The hallmark of the disease is the slow loss of dopamine in the brain, which unlocks our movement.”
Haq continued: “As patients begin to produce less of it they show the slowness, stiffness, and tremor that typify the disease. Replacing dopamine usually substantially alleviates these problems.”
Leslie A. Chambers, the president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association, said making appropriate lifestyle changes and focusing on physical therapy will go a very long way to helping Jackson live the best life possible, in spite of the disease.
“Since its a lifelong chronic illness, the American Parkinson Disease Association encourages people with Parkinson’s to seek out a top notch medical and healthcare team, which includes a movement disorders specialist physician and allied healthcare providers and protect and defend their overall health status with a nutritious diet, physical therapy and safe, effective daily exercise programs, as well as emotional and social support from family, and professional care partners-givers,” Chambers said, adding that the association extends heartfelt wishes to Jackson.
Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group said that even though Jackson is in for the fight of his life, she warned that Parkinson’s disease had met its match. “This is a major blow, but it’s not the death knell,” said Leavell. “We will keep working and encourage Jesse with all he’s done for us and continues to do.”

Newswire : Rev. Al Sharpton rallies 1,000 Ministers for historic Interfaith March On Washington

It was held on the anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

By Lilly Workneh, Black Voices Senior Editor, HuffPost

 

1,000 Ministers March
1,000 Ministers March

The Rev. Al Sharpton helped to rally 1,000 ministers for a march on Washington on Monday, which he said marks one of the largest interfaith gatherings to protest racism in America.
The daylong Ministers March For Justice, which represents people of all religious backgrounds including Christians, Muslims, Jews and other faith-based communities, began at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and end outside of the Justice Department. Sharpton, who is leading the effort through his nonprofit organization the National Action Network, said it deliberately falls on the 54th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech calling for widespread racial equality.
“In Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, he talked about voting rights, health care, criminal justice and economic injustice,” Sharpton told HuffPost. “All four of these areas are at risk.”

The march is a direct response to the dangerous ways that Sharpton says President Donald Trump has embraced racism, and it intends to call out how Trump has further emboldened white supremacists. Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist who has frequently spoken out against Trump in the past, said he is outraged at the ways the president and his administration have tried to roll back the civil rights progress America has made over the decades.
Sharpton also shared his own grievances with religious groups, expressing dissatisfaction with the level of action faith-based communities have collectively taken to confront Trump and his administration. He says it’s one reason why this march marks a significant moment in the resistance.
“The purpose of the march is to really put front and center leaders in the faith community that have not really made a real dramatic statement about the moral outrage that we’re looking at now in terms of the embrace of white supremacy and anti-Semitism,” Sharpton said.
The march went through Washington, D.C., where the group made a brief stop outside of the Trump Hotel in the city to join in prayer. While Sharpton said he doesn’t expect Trump to embrace their message, he said, “We expect everyone in the Congress and Cabinet to say, ‘This we can’t scoff at.’”

Sharpton has led countless marches in the past, but he said Monday’s gathering will mark a historic moment as hundreds within the interfaith community will march through Washington in the name of civil rights. While many have criticized the effectiveness of marching as a means of protest, Sharpton said that it is not the only method of protesting and that he is far from the only civil rights advocate pushing for racial equality. Although strategies and personal attitudes around activism in the black community vary, Sharpton said that there is nothing wrong with “a respectful difference in tactics” and also acknowledged the power of nonviolent youth-led activist groups and mass movements like Black Lives Matter.

“Many people criticize marching yet do not understand what marching is for. The job of marching is to dramatize an issue,” Sharpton said, pointing to King as an example of someone who was not an elected official yet used his voice and the power of protest to effectively amplify issues. “MLK dramatized issues and made the office holders have to come up with anti-segregation and voting laws. If you don’t raise or dramatize an issue, then no one will be forced into legislature on local or national levels to deal with it.”
Sharpton said he hopes Monday’s march sent a strong message about the faith community’s intolerance toward racism and religious discrimination ― and that it draws deeper meaning considering it is held partly in memory of King and the day his powerful words rang through Washington.

Peaceful exchange of power takes place as Trump prepares to take oath of office by shaking Obama’s hand.

inaughandtohand.jpgPresident Obama shakes hands with President Trump on stage at inauguration. Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire

 

 

               (TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States Jan. 20, during a peaceful exchange of powers with America’s first Black President Barack Obama. Trump assured a unified America despite never apologizing for leading one of the most hate-filled campaigns in recent history.

“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come,” Trump told the crowd. The Bible tells us, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’ We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

The speech was met with applause and chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” by the vastly White audience – a reversal from the two inaugurations of eight and four years ago, when throngs of Black people packed in to witness the historic inaugurations of President Obama. The Trump inauguration, though well attended with crowds stretching from the steps of the U. S. Capitol back to the Washington Monument, did not draw as many people as the Obama inauguration, based on close observations of the crowd by this reporter and Black press photographers who attended all three ceremonies.

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress decided to skip the inauguration; including Black Caucus members U. S. Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Lewis contends he does not see Trump as a legitimate president given the involvement of Russian email hacking in order to help him get elected, according to confirmation by intelligence agencies. Lee and others refused to attend because of protest for Trump’s vitriolic conduct during the election.

Still President Obama had promised a “peaceful exchange of powers”, a tenet of American democracy. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, were also in attendance with their wives. Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who battled Trump vigorously to win the presidency, smiled a lot and appeared stately during the procession and ceremony.

“Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent,” Trump said. He repeated promised to “make America first” in his proposed national and international policies, legislations and executive orders. He also promised to uplift “inner cities”, a well-known euphemism for the Black community.

“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public,” Trump said. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain.  Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success.  We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”

Trump’s words are lofty, but his actions have not matched what he has said. So far, he has nominated an all-White cabinet; except Dr. Ben Carson who will head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also appointed former White supremacist advocate Steve Bannon as a top advisor and nominated former Klan sympathizer Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. He has appointed Omarosa Manigault to assist him with public liaison, but it remains to be seen what will come from a meeting she and other aids had with Black organizational representatives.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the day after the inauguration, more than a million women packed the streets of Washington and other major cities around the U. S. making demands on a string of key issues important to women, Blacks and other minorities. Civil rights leaders have taken a wait and see posture while putting pressure on the Trump administration through protest.

Led by Rev. Al Sharpton, they started that pressure during a march one week before the inauguration. On Inauguration Day, National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial emailed a statement essentially promising to continue marching to correct social ills that were prevalent 50 years ago.
“My own predecessor as head of the National Urban League, the legendary Whitney M. Young, was one of the organizers of that march and delivered his own stirring speech that day. He spoke of the need for Black Americans to do “some more marching:” …from dangerous ghettos to safe, unrestricted neighborhoods…from poverty wages to skilled, family-sustaining jobs…from the cemeteries of early graves to health centers from overcrowded, inadequate classrooms to fully-equipped, professionally staffed and integrated schools,” wrote Morial. “And there we were, marching for those same things a half-century later, marching under the motto, “We shall not be moved.”