Rolling Out

Rainbow PUSH Coalition President Frederick D. Haynes III’s successful start

Following in the large footsteps of Rev. Jesse Jackson
Frederick D. Haynes, III, Rainbow PUSH Coalition President and CEO (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

Following a big act is one of the most challenging things to do in life. It’s difficult but certainly achievable, and it’s something Frederick D. Haynes III believes he can see in 2024. 

Haynes is the new president and CEO of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, founded by civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Within his first few months in the position, he spoke at one of the organization’s conferences in Atlanta this past fall. At the conference, Haynes took a few minutes to talk to rolling out about the transition.

What was this weekend like at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Conference?

It’s been a powerful weekend.

The theme of the weekend had to do with creating opportunity. All of us know that we live in a nation where the achievement gap, the wealth gap, and the educational gap are all the result of an opportunity gap.

So we must create opportunity. We had amazing panel discussions. But on top of that, out of the panel discussions, we have a brain trust. What we’re going to do is basically pull together all of the amazing ideas and craft an agenda of steps that we’re going to take so that we move from hallelujah to “do”-lelujah — actually doing something about what we’ve discussed.

It’s been a real blessing to connect with so much talent here in the ATL. The ATL is like our Black capital. And so we came to the Black capital to discuss capital, to discuss the criminal justice system, to discuss education, to discuss our international connection, and to discuss the economy.

I think it was only appropriate that we come to the ATL because not only is it our Black capital, but it’s the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who, of course, was a mentor to my beloved big brother and mentor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

To be here meant a whole lot; just coming here makes it a success, but then to have the powerful programming — it was just amazing.

How have these past few months been for you in this new position?

The announcement was in July, and then I officially started on Sept. 1.

To be honest with you, on the one hand, it’s been mind-blowing because I never would have dreamt of that. I wouldn’t have dreamt that Rev. Jackson would have tapped me to succeed him.

It’s also mind-blowing I’m the president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. I’m still learning to say that, so I have to say it several times a day just to learn how to say it, feel it, and feel the honor of it. It’s great, and at the same time, it reminds me of the amazing legacy I’m in.

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