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International Affairs

The International Affairs Desk of Operation PUSH is headed by Mr. Jack O'Dell. Through his research and travels, headway has been made on a variety of fronts to achieve human rights for Third World peoples. 

In the past, PUSH has headed food drives for the starving in turmoil stricken African nations. PUSH has been instrumental in opening up lines of communication in the conflict now gripping the Middle East, and affecting American lifestyles at every level.

In South Africa, PUSH is working hard to end the apartheid system which equates blackness with worthlessness.

This arm of Operation PUSH has proven to be its most controversial. Realizing that Americans make up less than ten percent of the total world population, PUSH will continue on its course to educate the American public in a new world consciousness, and to an emerging new world order.

Human Services

The Human Services component of PUSH, headed by Rev. Willie Barrow, serviced over 10,000 general complaints and assistance inquiries received in 1979.

Each Christmas, the department is responsible for obtaining hundreds of food baskets for the poor in the Chicago area.

Rounding out the influence and impact of Human Services, is the weekly PUSH Forum each Saturday at Operation PUSH Headquarters. The Forum provides a regular platform for issues and "issue raisers" from across the nation. Past guests have included Vice President Mondale, Senator Edward Kennedy, Andrew Young, Bill Cosby, John Anderson, Richard Hatcher, foreign ambassadors, entertainers and professional athletes.

75,000 Annually attend the Forum, while over 50,000 are reached weekly via WVON, WJPC and WMPP radio broadcasts.

The PUSH for Economic Development

As vital as the previously outlined areas are to the futures of disadvantaged peoples, perhaps none is more crucial than the Economic Development Department headed by the Rev. George E. Riddick.

This office has successfully entered into national agreements with major U.S. corporations which resulted in increased minority employment and the promotion of minority products and firms. The overall result has been to aid in the growth of black business and the revitalization of black business districts. 

This department has also led PUSH to the forefront in support of affirmative action and full employment legislation as outlined in the Humphrey-Hawkins Employment Bill of 1975. 

[[caption]] Inmates at the Joliet facility are told of ways to make a way out of no way in a dismal situation. [[/caption]]

[[caption]] Rev. Jackson with one of many South African students he met while touring that nation's black and white educational facilities. [[/caption]]

Prison Outpost

The Prison Outpost sponsored by PUSH is an eight-year-old program specifically designed to aid the incarcerated.

PUSH has helped to keep those jailed and their families in close contact through encouraging and arranging letters and visitations. Between correspondence and contact, PUSH provides counselling and prayer on an individual basis.

At the helm of the PUSH Prison Outpost program was the Rev. Jessie "Ma" Houston. Until her death early this year, "Ma," as she was affectionately known by inmates throughout the state, and world, brought a special sense of concern to those housed in state and federal institutions. Her work continues through the efforts of her daughter, Mrs. Helen Sinclair. 

Help PUSH "Keep on Pushing"

Use the enclosed membership form to send your contribution to PUSH and PUSH for Excellence.

By becoming a PUSH member, you aid in the maintenance and expansion of vital programs and services made available through Operation PUSH and the PUSH for Excellence.

For additional information on PUSH and the PUSH for Excellence write: 

Operation PUSH/PUSH for Excellence Information
930 East 50th Street, Chicago, IL 60615, (312) 373-3366

For contributions, make checks payable to either Operation PUSH Inc., or the PUSH Foundation. Your contribution to the PUSH Foundation is tax deductible.

Nobody Will Save Us, For Us, But Us


Operation PUSH believes the following minimum program of human and political rights must become the basis of a mass movement for social change as the logical and necessary extension of the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties:

PUSH for humane alternatives to the welfare system (a job or an income).

PUSH for the revival of the labor movement to protect organized workers, to organize those unorganized and to fight for a full employment economy. This, to insure that every able-bodied person desiring to work is provided with a socially useful and meaningful job at a livable wage.

PUSH for an economic Bill of Rights for all children up to the age of 18 guaranteeing their food, clothing, shelter, medical care and education.

PUSH for an economic Bill of Rights for the aging guaranteeing adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care and meaningful programs.

PUSH for full political participation including autmomatic voter registration as a right of citizenship.

PUSH to elect to local, state and federal offices persons committed to humane economic and social programs.

PUSH for humane conditions in prisons and sound rehabilitation programs.

PUSH for a Bill of Rights for veterans whose needs are for the most part ignored.

PUSH for quality health care for all people based upon need and without dehumanizing ceremony.

PUSH for adequate housing for all in a total community environment (regardless of income).

PUSH for relevant, quality desegregated public education regardless of a student's race, religion or creed.

PUSH for economic and social relationships with the nations of Africa in order to build African/American unity.

PUSH for national unity among all organizations working for the humane economic, political and social development of people around the world.

PUSH for a relevant theology geared to regenerating depressed and oppressed peoples.

PUSH for excellence. 

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact