At the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund's 17th annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit held in New York last month, Reverend Jesse Jackson announced to hundreds of political, corporate and entrepreneurial leaders that “The struggle is not over.”
Held at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel with the theme "50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice,” this year’s economic summit focused on home foreclosures, unemployment and the decline in Black businesses.
Despite living in an economic atmosphere decades after the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson provided evidence that proved black business continues to suffer. Even more appalling is the lack of diversity at the corporate level.
“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,” said Jackson. “Income inequality is a growing concern, and the financial crisis didn’t help.
“In the U.S., the wealthiest 1 percent grabbed 95 percent of the post-2009 growth, and the bottom 90 percent became poorer. While financial transactions are of particular interest to the Wall Street Project, there is increasing concern generally about lack of opportunity.”
A report shows 33 percent of all African-Americans own smartphones and use double the mobile phone minutes as whites do, yet when Verizon did the biggest corporate bond sale in history last September, no minority banks or broker dealers were used. Instead, fees of $265 million went to a handful of majority-owned banks.
“The companies that we use—like Twitter, Apple and Google—we trade with them, and they don't trade with us,” Jackson told the AmNews. “Not a single Black on their boards. We want to talk about advertising in Black-owned media with companies where we purchase products from. It’s about fair equity in the economic arena.”
Reverend Jackson brought together the nation’s leaders in political, corporate, entrepreneurial and other industries to discuss the economic congruity and concerns distinctive to African-American and Hispanic men and women and people of diverse cultures.
Jackson also honored several Black media outlets, including the Amsterdam News, Johnson Publishing Company, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Daily Challenge and Positive Community.
Jackson said he honored the media outlets because they allow the Black point of view to be heard.
“They will always fill a significant niche that must be respected. These papers need subscribers and ads, and we must support these publications in concrete terms,” he said.
But Rev. Jackson is not taking this sitting down, he and the Rainbow PUSH 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.