Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund kicked off their 22nd Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit February 20th at the Sheraton New York Times Square. The civil rights icon and two-time presidential candidate addressed this year’s theme “400 Years Later: Closing the Wealth Gap, Expanding Opportunity” for African Americans and other people of color in the United States.
At the opening press briefing, Rev. Jackson presented the Wall Street Project Economic Summit White Paper, an overview of the struggle of the African American community to increase wealth and gain financial equality by using votes and dollars, becoming shareholders and making a commitment to spending less than we make.
“African Americans have journeyed through four stages of a 400-year struggle,” Rev. Jackson said. “Stage one – ending slavery after 246 years in bondage; Stage two – ending the Jim Crow era with its mass lynchings and terror campaigns; Stage three – securing the right to vote; and currently, Stage four – securing access to capital, industry, technology and deal flow in the U.S. economy,” stated Rev. Jackson.
“We are in the early days of stage four,” he continued. “We have freedom in our lives, but we don’t have equality. There are some steps the African-American community can take to move closer to gaining equality and the fruits that will come with the successful navigation of stage four of the struggle. It’s the simplest way to begin building wealth. We must save money to invest in building a future. It’s time to consolidate that earning power for the welfare of the community.”
Highlights from Wednesday include:
- Fireside chat with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Toni Townes-Whitley, President, U.S Regulated Industries Microsoft Corporation.
- A dialogue with PUSH Excel, Educators and Corporate Leaders discussing the critical issues in higher education, policy issues and how to improve the preparation of the students for the workforce of today and tomorrow, and securing the future with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
An insightful discussion on the State of Black Wealth after the Emancipation Proclamation and the best efforts to close the wealth gap with Janice L Mathis. Esq, Executive Director of National Council of Negro Women; Marc H. Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League; Alfred A. Edmond Jr., Senior Vice President/Executive Editor-At-Large BLACK ENTERPRISE; and Eugene Mitchell, Founder and Principal/E. Mitchell Consulting Group.
- Opening Night Reception featuring members of the 116th Congress
The summit continued on Thursday with a fireside chat with Thomas M. Moriarity, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, General Counsel, CVS Health; and Level Up: The Business of Hip Hop panel featuring an exclusive conversation with Percy “Master P” Miller, 2019 Living Legend Awardee and Annual Wall Street Project Scholarship Gala chair Susan Taylor, founder and CEO National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Essence Magazine. On Friday, the summit concluded with its Business Luncheon featuring keynote speaker Congresswoman Maxine Waters.