Karen Hunter, left, is presented a business award by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. and DiversityInc COO Carolynn L. Johnson / TYRONE RASHEED

Rainbow PUSH Summit Calls for Economic Empowerment, Equity in Corporate America

“We choose to come together each year and learn the science of capital,” said Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. said at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund’s 21st Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit.


More than 1,000 people attended the two-day summit in New York City earlier this month. Jackson, founder and president, along with other thought-leaders from around the country discussed pertinent topics including women of color in business, the Black Wealth 2020 initiative and urban and rural job creation.

At the Business Awards luncheon in partnership with DiversityInc, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was honored, announced that three banks, including TD Bank (No. 38 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) have committed a total of $40 million toward city programs that help minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) and small businesses to grow and sustain.

This funding builds on the city’s initial $20 million investment for this effort.

“Let’s acknowledge the facts in front of our face, when you invest in a M/WBE it is pure economic development because the money, the opportunity will reach people who are too often left out,” de Blasio said. “That’s what this is about.”

Other honorees included Carla Harris, vice chairman, managing director, and senior client advisory, Morgan Stanley, and Karen Hunter, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of eight New York Times bestsellers and radio host of the “Karen Hunter Show” on Sirius XM.

DiversityInc Chief Operating Officer Carolynn L. Johnson nominated Hunter for the award.

“Simply put, she is a powerhouse,” Johnson said at the luncheon.

Hunter was outraged when white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.

“She spearheaded a movement for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse in South Carolina,” Johnson said. “In just three days, she secured more than 577,000 signatures on a petition leading to the flag coming down.”

It was announced at the conference that Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s partnership with 10 major technology firms in Silicon Valley has yielded $23 million in underwriting fees for minority, women and disabled veteran business enterprises (MWDVBE) in the financial sector.

Click here for report.

Scholarship Gala honorees included Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner; Karen Weaver, mayor of Flint, Mich.; and Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, Esq., civil rights attorney. Actor and comedian Orlando Jones (“American Gods,” “Sleepy Hollow”) hosted the gala and singers Audrey DuBois Harris and Avery Sunshine gave performances.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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