Press Release: Rev. Jesse Jackson & RainbowPUSH Close The Wall Street Project Economic Summit with an Even Stronger Commitment & Fight for Equality and Financial Parity
Despite the Nor’easter & Storm Pax Hit on NYC: The Struggle Continues
“50 Years after The Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice”
LIGHTNING RELEASES: New York, NY (2/13/2014) – The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund saw a tremendous turnout of speakers, attendees, political leaders, policy makers and entertainers despite the nor’easter at the 17th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit. The three-day summit focused on the lock out of minorities on corporate boards, and financial transactions; investment opportunities in Africa, the business of hip hop and minority ownership. This year’s summit, “50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice…” puts equality at the forefront said Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “We are fighting the right fight,” said Rev. Jackson. “We are closing the gap between the top and bottom. When justice prevails, everyone wins.”
“The Labor, Ministers and Community Leaders Breakfast” moderated by Dr. Kris F. Erskine, Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church, New York, launched Thursdays sessions into high gear by setting the framework for the day. Attendees sat on the edge of their sits as Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he promised to the attendees and NY that his commitment was that no person in NY would lose their home because they didn’t have representation. It wasn’t just about home foreclosures for the Attorney General, he added, “I want kids to live with equal justice under the law … to have due justice and equal justice under the law.” Although it was early and many trudged through snow, all attendees said their commitment to fighting for financial equality was a must. The featured speaker Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church of New York delivered a passion felt message on the importance of the continued connection and support between the labor, ministry and community leader’s network. “Economic justice for God sales,” Rev. Dr. Forbes quoted Mathew 6:25 “do not worry about your life” as there will be economic justice for all. Rev. Dr. Forbes added that economic justice is the key to retaining the integral relationships between corporations, labor, the church and community action groups. The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble lent their voices as the session closed.
General Motors sponsored a media day for African American, Latino and Asian media professionals where individuals representing various firms had the opportunity to discuss and have a conversation about the direction of brands they represent and what they are looking for. Rev. Jackson joined the session and told the attendees as with all industries, advertising included, “When the rules are public and the goals are clear and the score is transparent, we can win.”
The Summit was excited to have an African delegation attend and convening at the day’s third session. “Focus on Africa: Investment Opportunities in Africa, and Agriculture added additional insight into investment opportunities globally. Senator Rodney Ellis, (Texas) led a spirited conversation with the panelist including, Amy Bell, Executive Director and Head of Principal Investment at J.P. Morgan Social Finance, who stated, “Bringing together people who represent the public and private sector is really important.” Elaborating on gender equality, Bell added, “Good governance is important; we need to think about both men and woman.”
Rev. Jackson echoed the Africa sentiments by continuing the conversation inviting Hon. Michael Mabuyakhulu, Minister of Economic Development, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa on stage for welcoming remarks at “The Civil Right Act: 50th Anniversary Luncheon.” Mabuyakhulu assured luncheon attendees that Africa is open for business and is ready to invest; saying, “If you want to get the best investment there is no better place than Africa. Africa is ready to do business with you [USA]. The African of today is different than the Africa of yesterday.” Switching gears at the luncheon, famed tap dancer Jared Grimes performed a small set for the crowd, Rev. Jackson enthusiastically joined in for a few seconds of the routine. As the entertainment concluded, the luncheon continued as Rev. Jackson introduced Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She took to the stage ensuring the audience her company is on top of its goal of enforcing equal opportunity employment. “We are working to ensure that the federal government is a model employer for the nation,” stated Berrien.
Coming full circle with the summit’s agenda, Rev. Jackson closed the luncheon noting that the recent purchase of Time Warner Cable by Comcast included no minority firms IPO’s, which directly correlated with the release of the study and scoreboard on 160 major corporations on Wednesday, titled “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers.” The study was the cornerstone of The Wall Street Economic Summit. In preparing the study, the Wall Street Project examined debt transactions of 160 major Corporations over a 45 month period from Jan. 2010 to Sept. 30, 2013. The resulting data was then used to create a 5 tier corporate issuer ranking system based on the volume of debt deals that went to market, frequency of minority participation on those deals and the number of minority firms that participated on the deals. The report can be downloaded here.
Wednesday’s Opening Plenary session was moderated by Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D, Founder & President, Last Word Productions. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition delivered the opening remarks officially releasing the “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers study.” Sabrina Philson, Principal, Epsilon Advisors, LLC served as the featured speaker and lead author and researcher of today’s report. Sharon Epperson, Correspondent for CNBC moderated the Equity and Parity luncheon, which honored Cathy Hughes, Chairperson and Founder of Radio One, Inc, and New York City Comptroller Thomas P. Di Napoli. To close out the luncheon, Grammy nominated artist SWV (Sisters with Voices) performed their hit single “Weak” to a standing only crowd. They are currently the stars of WE TV’s newest hit show SWV reunited, airing Thursday nights at 10PM ET.
At “The Business of Sports” session Chris Broussard, Sports Analyst at ESPN, moderated a dynamic conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rev. Jackson. Wednesday closed with the Gala Fundraising Reception titled “Wall Street Goes Uptown to Harlem” at The Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, New York. The Broadway musical After Midnight gave a special performance. The highlight for attendees was New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio who welcome attendees to the city. He said, “We alone can have an enormous impact. When we talk about the lack of blacks on corporate boards, we in government have some tools to support him [Rev. Jackson]. The Wall Street Project has been pushing in the right direction. If we are not inclusive, then we won’t be the America we were meant to be.” He continued to share his vision for New York City and said it was a humbling moment to be in attendance, remembering his time as a volunteer on Rev. Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign.
Tuesday kicked off with the Youth Summit and Career Symposium. The first session of the Youth Summit titled “McDonald’s Showcase of the Stars” which featured entrepreneur Kwame Jackson of NBC’s the Apprentice fame.
The afternoon initiatives of the Career Symposium welcomed John W. Rodger, Jr., Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments at the “Opportunities for Minorities on Corporate and Non-Profit Boards” session. As moderator of the session, Rodgers shared his thoughts on board leadership. The evening’s opening session moderated by George E. Curry, Editor-in-Chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), focused on the 30th anniversary of Rev. Jackson’s historic 1984 Presidential run and the subsequent 88’ campaign. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins supported Rev. Jackson during his presidential run, and believed – that support set a precedent for his mayoral campaign and victorious election in 1989.
Tuesday closed with an opening reception featuring a “Tribute to the Black Media.” The media honored included: Johnson Publishing Company represented by Todd E. Brown, EVP and Chief Revenue Officer; National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), represented by Cloves C. Campbell; The Positive Community, represented by Editor-in-Chief, Jean Nash Wells and Publisher Adrian A. Council, Sr.; Black Enterprise, represented by Earl G. “Butch” Graves, Jr.; The Daily Challenge, publisher Thomas Watkins, Jr., represented by Joan Allen and The New York Amsterdam News, represented by Publisher, Elinor R. Tatum.
The 2014 honorary co-chairs are Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, D-NY 9th District, Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Macy’s, Inc., General Motors will host a Media Day focusing on opportunities for minority media with the automaker and Houston Style Magazine will serve as a promotional media sponsor.
Rev. Jackson and the RainbowPUSH organization recently launched an initiative urging black America to “Become One in A Million,” by joining the RPC Million Member Campaign Today, visit www.millionmember.rainbowpush.org.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. To register or for summit highlights visit: www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org or call (646)-569-5889
Photo Credit for this release: Rob Bennett
Additional Images, press releases and the agenda are available for download at:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yzova48qv1wxvxp/QfOkSQZZNl | Please credits all photos to Margot Jordan.