The Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke out about employment inequality on Monday, saying the civil rights movement is under attack.
Jackson spoke in Chicago at the 40th annual Rainbow PUSH conference. He started the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in 1971 to improve the economic conditions of black communities across the United States.
Jackson said state laws requiring voter identification or laws restricting collective bargaining create unequal opportunities.
"This is an ugly season in so many ways, and it's not happening in Illinois because we are the oasis in this desert," he said. "Somewhere between Ohio and Wisconsin and Michigan is Illinois, where the governor's sensitivity has brought some measure of relief."
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn attended a luncheon at the conference Monday. He also spoke about the importance of equal employment opportunities.
The conference kicked off on Saturday and will continue until Wednesday.