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Rev. Jesse Jackson and Loraine Colonello

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition 8th Annual Awards Banquet

Home to many notable entertainment events, including the Golden Globe Awards, the Oscar® Nominee Luncheon, and the Milken Institute's Global Conference, the world-famous Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel put social, racial, and economic world leaders in the spotlight as the Rainbow PUSH Coalition hosted its 8th Annual Awards Banquet and 64th birthday celebration for its leader, Rev. Jesse Jackson. A portion of the dinner's proceeds were donated to benefit Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Rev. Jackson began the evening with a press conference honoring New Orleans victims, in addition to Louisiana State Senator Cleo Fields and Louisiana State Representative Charmaine Marchand. He addressed the lack of government response and lack of minorities given an opportunity to reconstruct the devastated city. Rev. Jackson demanded justice be done by distributing reconstruction funds and contracts to local businesses.

The pre-event news conference also included Cindy Sheehan, who ever since her vigil outside Crawford Ranch earlier this year has been thrust to the front of the "Bring our troops home" movement. Ms. Sheehan's son died in the line of duty in Iraq. Cindy told POWER, "that the key to political change about the war in Iraq starts with the individual."

The awards dinner kicked off with a moving video tribute to the life of Rev. Jackson from his birth 64 years ago to his activism through the decades. Afterwards, Master of Ceremony Jonathan Slocomb began by honoring key leaders who have made significant contributions to social, racial and economic justice. Recipients included Johnnie Walker of NABFEME (Woman of Conscience Award), Don Cornelius of Don Cornelius Productions (Trailblazer Award), Timothy Leiweke of AEG Staples Center (Trading Partner Award), Ann Marie Tallman of MALDEF (Bridge Builder Award), Maria Elena Durazo of Unite Here Local 11 (Social Justice Award), Jerry Weintraub (Pioneer Award), and Cindy Sheehan (International Peace Award).

Honorary Chair for the evening Martin Sheen, Los Angeles community leaders, and co-chairs Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Senator Gilbert Cedillo, Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, Arianna Huffington, Curtis Owens, Bruce Raynor, John Wilhelm, and William E. Shack were some of the notable guests in attendance.
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