Making sure that Black America gets its fair share of wealth as the economy gets back on track is the focus of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 15th annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit. The theme for this year’s summit is “We Are One World: Bringing Everyone to the Table: Celebrating 15 Years of Access to Capital, Industry and Technology.”
Scheduled to take place at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, this year’s summit will take place on Jan. 25-27 and will feature an array of panel discussions, seminars and forums. In an interview with the AmNews, Jackson said that he wants to ignite a conversation about Black ownership.
“There is a loss of inclusion, whether it be through home foreclosures, educational access because of the student loan debt impact, and media ownership,” he said. “The loss of radio and TV stations for African-Americans and a lack of access to capital have left us at the bottom of the barrel.”
Jackson said that several actions will take place at the summit, including bankruptcy reform, student loan debt forgiveness and bolder enforcement to stop voter suppression tactics. On the topic of growing and preserving the Black middle class, Jackson said that Blacks’ biggest source of wealth is homeownership.
“Banks chose risky investing over lending. We must review this issue of what happened and deal with bankruptcy reform as a key. Many of those people who have been evicted should occupy those homes and demand that banks restructure loans and not put them out with no place to go,” he said.
Kicking off next Wednesday, the summit will begin with a panel discussion titled, “An Overview of the Current State of Media and Telecom Industry,” dealing with Black ownership of media outlets. Panelists will include Cloves Campbell Jr., chairman, National Newspapers Publishers Association, and Michael J. Copps, commissioner, Federal Communications Commission. Later in the evening, NV magazine will co-host a reception with its “movers and shakers” and honor Copps.
On Thursday, activities include the A. Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King Labor and Ministers Breakfast, a youth summit with the New York Urban League and the Women Leading the Way Luncheon, hosted by Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux.
The summit will wrap up on Friday with a morning plenary session on fair access to business contracts, a luncheon on access to capital and the 15th annual Gala and Scholarship Fundraiser at the Riverside Church, where Jackson will celebrate his 70th birthday. The fundraiser event will honor Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon.
A list of key figures, ranging from politicians to civil rights leaders, are slated to participate in the summit, including NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, Rep. Yvette Clark, Assemblyman Karim Camara and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.