The Rev. Jesse Jackson kicked off his Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 20th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit on Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt New York. The three-day event goes through Friday.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating 20 Years: Strengthening and Redefining Inclusion and Equality in the Corporate Marketplace” and features sessions on technology, finance, sports and generational diversity, as well as a report card reviewing and grading the progress of the past 20 years. “We’re looking to explore the two decades of progress and where do we go from here,” said Jackson. “We have accomplished a tremendous amount over the past 20 years—however, as we enter a new political landscape, we need to stay at the table to ensure true diversity is met.”
Starting things off on Wednesday morning, Jackson was joined by Wall Street insiders, executives, bankers and educators on a commemorative walk from 120 Wall St. to the New York Stock Exchange.
The focus of Wednesday’s program was education. HBCU presidents, chancellors and advocates discussed the impact and outcomes of Black colleges and what work Wall Street and HBCUs can do together to bring more diversity to the financial world.
High school and middle school students participated in a daylong program to introduce them to careers in finance, retail and entrepreneurship. There was also a panel discussion on technology opportunities.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Rev. Al Sharpton were in attendance for the 2017 Ministers’ Luncheon and Meeting. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson served as the keynote speaker.
Other panel discussions throughout the day covered topics such as financial education and sports. In the evening, the Wall Street PUSH Tech 2020 event took place where there were live demonstrations from companies developing technology in New York City and the tristate area.
Speakers at this year’s summit include Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Congressman Charlie Rangel, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Gregory Meeks. The Wall Street Project Gala Fundraiser takes place Thursday and will feature one-on-ones with journalist Ed Gordon and Jackson discussing the 20-year retrospective of the Wall Street Project. Honorees include Susan L. Taylor, founder and CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement; Dr. George C. Fraser, chairman and CEO, FraserNET; and the late Kenneth P. “Ken” Thompson, District Attorney, Brooklyn, New York (posthumously).