Originally reported by: https://chicagocrusader.com/
Written by: Chinta Strausberg

When talented biblical scholar Reverend Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III announced he was resigning immediately as of April 16, 2024, after being named president and CEO of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition just nine months ago, it sent shockwaves throughout the Black community here and nationally. 

Saying he is grateful for Haynes’ service, Reverend Jackson and his board accepted Haynes’ resignation.  

“We remain eternal partners in the fight for peace, civil rights and economic justice,” Jackson wrote in a statement. 

But reached in Washington, D.C., Representative Danny Davis (D-7th) saw the sudden shift not as disturbing, but a sign that it may be time for Representative Jonathan Jackson (D-1st) to pick up his father’s mantle, and to keep hope and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition alive. 

In a letter dated April 16, 2024, the 63-year-old Dr. Haynes, who has headed the mega Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas since 1983, announced to the world that he is giving the reins back to Reverend Jackson as his successor.  

Haynes, officially installed February 1, 2024, says he still “remains committed to honoring the rich history of RPC and most significantly, to the calling and pursuit of social justice.” 

While many African American leaders refused to comment, shaking their heads and wondering if this move by Haynes signals the death of the nationally known civil rights organization, Davis sees a bright light at the end of the tunnel. 

“There is nothing simple about this,” Davis said.  

“Reverend Freddie Haynes is one of the most gifted people who has ever been put on earth in this modern era. When he took the position, he had a gigantic ministry down in Texas. 

“I’ve been to his church, seen the operation, and doing both things would be just too much for one person to do especially if they are doing part of it in Chicago and in Dallas, Texas. I would imagine that after a little while, that Freddie Haynes probably saw that it was just too hard to do both things, being separated and being so far away,” Davis surmised. 

He said perhaps if Haynes were located in Chicago, he could have handled the bifurcated duties of heading PUSH and his mega church in Texas. 

Davis believes Haynes understood the need to go back to nurturing his roots in Texas rather than giving a slice of his time here in Chicago to plant seeds for PUSH. “He did what a wise man would do and recognized where he has to cast his net rather than having it in both places,” said Davis. 

“Now, I think the task for PUSH is to operate in an environment, and I think a local person like Representative Jackson probably could do both things. He lives in Chicago and would be in closer contact with the PUSH headquarters.” 

Asked if he thought Jackson could handle wearing the mantle of his father, Davis said he could. “I think PUSH is locally grown but internationally known.” 

That is why Davis believes Representative Jackson is the best person to “keep PUSH live, vibrant and functioning as a testament to the legacy of Reverend Jackson,” the Representative’s father. 

“I think the activists, the clergy, those who have always been a part of PUSH, should gather around and make sure that PUSH continues to play the role that it is well known for,” said Davis. 

“I do believe that even though Moses may be gone, we may very well have a Joshua right here in Chicago who can take on the mantle of leadership and all of us who have been a part of PUSH should join and help keep hope alive, keep PUSH unified, electrified, motivated, stimulated, activated and ongoing,” Davis said. 

Reached in Washington, D.C., Attorney Barbara R. Arnwine, president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, a long-time supporter of PUSH, said, “I am shocked that Reverend Haynes has resigned. I wish the outcome could have been different.” 

Asked how important PUSH to her is, Arnwine said, “It’s a question how you distinguish between the past and the future. There is, without a question, a role for an organization with the kind of bold leadership that Reverend Jackson has brought to the civil rights movement. 

“The question is how does this organization move forward without a leader of the caliber of Reverend Freddie Haynes?”  

Currently, Reverend Jackson has named his son Yusef, a lawyer, as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). 

“Reverend Jackson has made the Rainbow PUSH Coalition a center of hope. He has made it a center of bold advocacy. He has helped thousands of people through the feeding, literacy, voter education programs, but more important than anything, he has inspired people,” Arnwine stated. 

“He has helped people to look beyond their circumstance and to imagine themselves to be greater. As I traveled the country, I have met people who are devotees of Reverend Jackson. They were inspired by his messaging.

 “When Reverend Jackson chants, ‘I am somebody,’ that resonates with people who are downtrodden and are told they are nobody, that they are incapable of achieving, and he built a counter-narrative that became inspirational and motivating,” she said. 

“I think that there may never be another Reverend Jackson, an international icon, but there is a role for a Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago. 

“You got to have someone who will walk against the violence, someone who will comfort the families, someone who could go anywhere to talk to the highest level of corporate boards and people on the street who have been forsaken. 

“You need someone with that kind of tremendous spirit to be here for generations to come. This is not about the past. It’s always about the future. Reverend Jackson has laid the groundwork for the future, and I hope that the foundation that he laid will continue to grow and not be stagnated,” Arnwine said. 

It was just nine months ago that Jackson chose Haynes to head the most recognized civil rights organizations since the days of Dr. Martin Luther King. King himself chose Jackson to head the then-named Operation Breadbasket organization.