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The Rainbow PUSH Coalition Launches Campaign to Reduce the Rate on Student Loans

March 7, 2009

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, called on students from across the nation to help launch the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's campaign to reduce the interest rate on student loans at the weekly Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum.

"When students get involved change comes our way," said Rev. Jackson. If we can bail out Citigroup, GM, AIG and Iraq, we can bailout out students."

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is rolling out a new website, www.reducetherate.org, where individuals can sign a petition in support of the Rainbow PUSH Education Stimulus Plan that calls on Congress to: ·Reduce the interest rate on all student loans to 1%. ·Extend the grace period before loan repayment begins from 6 months to 18 months for students who graduate. · End the penalties assessed to schools for student loan defaults. ·Increase Pell Grants to cover the average yearly cost of a public 4-year institution instead of the amounts in the current stimulus package--$5,350 starting July 1 and $5,550 in 2010-2011

In other news, the Rainbow Excel Basketball League (R.E.B.L.) kicked off the season on Saturday. Over 200 young men from around Chicago who attend various Chicago Public Schools joined Rev. Jackson for the live broadcast of Saturday Morning Forum. Immediately following, the young men participated in a pep-rally and the first games of the season at King High School.

"We are committed to addressing the crisis of young black males dropping out of high-school," said Rev. Jackson. "In conjunction with the Chicago Bulls, we are building an athletics to education league."

R.E.B.L. is an initiative of PUSH for Excellence comprised of approximately 250 young African American boys. The program provides them with academic encouragement and mentoring in addition to competitive basketball. The program offers constructive activity and camaraderie aimed at steering young men away from violence.

During the broadcast, the Rev. Jackson commemorated the 44th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. On March 7, 1965, during a march in support of extending voting rights to all African Americans, over 600 marchers were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The event is now known as Bloody Sunday and was an important moment in the movement that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Saturday Morning Forum airs at 10 a.m. CST on the Word Network, CAN-TV and WJYS.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366