Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 17th Annual Rainbow Push Wall Street Project kicks off Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at a reception at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, at 5:00PM. Normally this event would have taken place in January – and has done so for the past 16 years. This is the first time the Economic Summit takes place during Black History Month. But it is a fitting entre, since it is focusing on “50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice.”
In an exclusive interview with Rev. Jackson, I asked what he felt the issues were at the present time. He responded, thoughtfully, “While there is a lot of activity in the digital media realm, and many are going the podcasting, it does not provide enough of an intro into the lucrative realm of the digital media business.” According to Rev. Jackson, Black people haven’t even scratched the surface of social media profitability.
Case in Point, according to Rev. Jackson: “33% of all African Americans own smart phones; use double the mobile phone minutes as whites; however, when Verizon did the largest corporate bond offering in history last September there were ZERO minority banks or broker dealers used! Fees of $265 million went to a handful of majority owned banks. Additionally, 24M African Americans use the Internet & 76% visit social media sites; however Twitters recent IPO had ONLY 1 minority investment banking firm. FACEBOOK used a handful of minority firms in its IPO but combined, those minority firms earned less than 1% of the fee.”
Additionally, he stated, “We’re losing more and more radio and TV broadcast stations. You will recall that two years ago, Rev. Jackson announced the fall of Inner City Broadcasting to bankruptcy as the result of ill advised investments in scattered stations that did not represent their core market area. While there was sufficient time to prevent the disaster, nothing was done until after the fact, resulting in the media giant built by the late Percy Sutton going into the hands of white media owners.
In tying in the Civil Rights factor, and the “need to continue the fight for economic justice and parity, Rev. Jackson stated, “Had it not been for the Civil Rights Movement, and the demonstrations we leveled against racist football, basketball and baseball franchises, there would be no Superbowl, or any of the other major money making sports events we enjoy today. Fifty years ago, it was against the law for Blacks and whites to play on the same team, or to compete with each other. Do you imagine the Seattle Seahawks would have one with out the Black quarterback who led them to victory?”
He continued: “There is plenty of money being circulated on the consumer side. We’re definitely doing our parts as consumers. But there are no Blacks on the board of directors on any of the major sports franchises. Only one Black advertising agency has received an ad in one year. The rest have gone to white agencies. The Super Bowl made it possible for these people to get their billion dollar ads on; but had we not gotten rid of segregation, there would have been no Super Bowl. The Civil Rights Movement struck down segregation in those teams – especially in the south.” He added: “There is a reason to fight for ourselves. To fight again for our share of the banking.”
When queried whether or not he was speaking to the choir, and that the people who needed to hear what he had to say were most likely not going to be at the Summit, he responded:
“We will have bankers here who have never attended our Summit before and are trying to see where they fit into the equation.”
One of the key summits will be “Africa – From Zimbabwe to the Congo, bringing together he U.S. Agriculture secretary and agriculture secretaries from several African countries, they will discuss investment opportunities and hunger in Africa. Africa has been targeted for genetically modified products, which would require them to depend on outside sources such as Monsanto to produce food for themselves. The focus will be on how to step the pervasive practices and begin to develop sustainable, autonomous sources of food and produce for a growing continent.
The decline in Black businesses in the US has been devastating. According to Rev. Jackson, ““For more than 50 years, Black Americans have increased their buying power from $37 Billion to over a Trillion dollars. But, our consumerism has not translated into a fair share of contracts and jobs with corporate America. While the general economy is enjoying a steady boost, we are losing record numbers of businesses. Income inequality is a growing concern and the financial crisis didn’t help. In the U. S., the wealthiest 1% grabbed 95% of the post 2009 growth, and the bottom 90% became poorer. While financial transactions are of particular interest to the Wall Street Project there is increasing concern generally about lack of opportunity.”
It should also be noted that while there is a healthy participation in FaceBook and other social media outlets, there is a paucity of participation in Black owned Newspapers and other publications – those that specifically focus on issues of importance and impact to Black people. Rev. Jackson also noted that, for the most part, the main stream media gives very little to no coverage of issues of importance to Blacks unless it’s of a hostile nature. He noted that on the other side, the Black media was not getting an adequate market share of the advertisements that corporate giants, such as Toyota, General Motors, Verizon, AT&T, and others routinely give to other non-Black news papers.
“We are going to address that when we bring Toyota here on Wednesday and General Motors on Thursday – the need to expand their media to more Black owned publications,” he stated.
This year not only marks the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act, it also marks the 30th anniversary of Rev. Jackson running for President of the United States. In 1984 he threw his hat in the ring, and came in third place for the Democratic nomination for president, running on a platform that united all across the board, regardless of race – that of economic parity, growth and development for all Americans.
The Historic occasion will be commemorated on Tuesday, February 11, at the Sheraton New York Times Hotel, 811 Seventh Avenue @ 52nd Street.
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.
The following is an overview of the programs that will be presented over the three day Summit – February 11 through February 13:
- The World of Toyota: A session on business opportunities with the auto manufacturer for asset managers, broker dealers and IT firms. Toyota has consistently been a participant and supporter of the Wall Street Summit.
- The Business of Hip-Hop: Hip Hop celebrates 40 Years of global impact!! There will be a celebration of its accomplishments, and the spirit of entrepreneurship; exploration of opportunities for economic development and best practices for generating revenue and social inclusion, using non-traditional techniques and methods in the 21st century.
- The Business of Sports: Focus on the Role, Economic Impact and Future of the African American Sports Agent. Several of the nation’s top African American Sports Agents will intimately examine the economic impact of African Americans on the $470 Billion US Sports Sector Industry.
- Wall Street Project Career Symposium: A three-part career management session geared to strengthen professional employees with empowering tools, resources, skill sets and insights on new realities for creating, and managing employment and career opportunities in today’s highly technical work environment.
- Shared Thoughts of Titans: A compelling discussion with some of the most powerful business leaders in the World.
- Student Loan Debt: Learn how to managing it and paying it off – this is becoming a key focus as it becomes clearer that students are more victimized than helped by the practices on the part of Federal government and many banks.
- Opportunities for Minorities on Corporate and Non-Profit Boards: This session is for senior level execs. who are looking to advance their professional portfolios and demonstrate their leadership acumen through service on corp. and governing boards. Panelists will cover the strategic career choices, skill sets, personal traits and resources necessary for the executive’s service on corporate boards.
- What Will Jobs Look Like in 5 Years, 10 Years? What will the jobs be? Where will the jobs be? Will you be prepared to compete? These and other key questions will be answered.
- Annual Scholarship Gala: “Wall Street Goes Uptown To Harlem” will feature entertainment from the cast of the current Broadway hit musical” After Midnight” and a taste of Harlem from several popular Harlem restaurants.
Throughout the three -day summit, Rev. Jackson will feature free opportunities for college students and the unemployed to submit resumes for various positions that can lead to career opportunities.
For those interested in attending th Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Economic Summit, you can either register on line at: http://www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org
or call 646)-569-5889