Rainbown Push convenes the 20th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund’s 20thAnnual Wall Street Project Economic Summit three-day event kicked off today with a commemorative walk from Wall Street to the New York Stock Exchange.

The Wall Street Project Economic Summit, “Celebrating 20 Years: Strengthening and Redefining Inclusion and Equality in the Corporate Marketplace,” held at the Grand Hyatt New York, 120 E. 42nd Street and Grand Central Terminal in New York City, featured sessions on education, technology, finance, sports, generational diversity.

The Wall Street Project Economic Summit brings entrepreneurs, corporate executives and the nation’s political leadership together to increase business and employment opportunities for minorities.

“We want our share of what’s invested throughout this country,” says Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and organizer of the Wall Street Project. “This conference is about access to capital. We want a platform for urban reconstruction and a plan for advancing HBCUs.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton called Jackson the “apostle of economics.” “This is three days of regeneration. This is three days of recommitment. This is three days of getting focused again,” says Sharpton.

Highlights of the Summit sessions on Wednesday included:

  • Education Day, a career-oriented daylong program for middle and high school students
  • Higher Education, which brought together HBCU presidents, chancellors and advocates
  • Technology: Steam Opportunities, a student-centered forum about internships and employment from technology companies and others seeking diverse talent
  • Sports: The Next Generation of Athlete Dealmakers
  • Generational Diversity: Hip Hop in the New America

On Thursday, Jackson will release a 20-year retrospective diversity report card and call to action. Additionally, The Wall Street Project & Black Enterprise will host the day’s Luncheon where Earl G. “Butch” Graves, president and CEO, Black Enterprise and CNBC Contributor Contessa Brewer will serve as hosts. The keynote speaker is Joset Wright-Lacey, President, National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) and the honorees include Mr. Emmett T. Vaughn, Director of the Office of Diverse Business, Exelon Corporation and Mr. Dennis Carey, Vice Chairman, Co-Leader of the Board Services Practice, Korn Ferry. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund 20th Annual Wall Street Project Scholarship tomorrow night will feature a One-on-One interview with award-winning journalist Ed Gordon who will also serve as co-host with actress Phyllis Yvonne Stickney.

The following are quotes from Wednesday’s Summit:

“You can’t always get what you want, but you can certainly try to get there by any means you can. There are a lot of opportunities out there for you,” said Alex Cicogna, Assistant Vice President/Program Manage, Wells Fargo during the session, Education Day: Middle School and High School.

“There must be an understanding and an appreciation for the great history and contributions (HBCUs) have made. There can’t be alternative facts around that. We have to have a coordinated agenda to advance the institutions,” said David Wilson, President, Morgan State Universities during the Higher Education session. Wilson said he want to work toward students whose families live at or below the poverty line to be able to attend college for free.

“There are no substitutions for hard work. You have to be able to live in an uncertain world because things are going to change so fast,” said Kenneth L. Coleman, Chairman Saama Technologies, Salesforce during the Technology: STEAM Opportunities session.

“I was told in high school that I couldn’t be an engineer that I need to be a math teacher. I was good in math, but I had an uncle who was an engineer. I had a couple of great uncles who were engineers, and I knew that if that if they could do I could do it,” said Helen Crawley-Austin, Owner and CEO, Beyond Consulting Solutions, Inc. during the Press Briefing.

“It’s not about the technology, it’s about the dream behind the technology that gives the opportunity,” said Maurice L. Coleman, Senior Vice President, Community Banking & New York Market Executive, Bank of America Corporation Merrill Lynch during the Financial Education session.

“Disruption is the empowerment and access to money,” said Glenn Toby, a philanthropist and author, during the Generational Diversity: Hip Hop in the New America session.

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