The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund announced Wednesday at a press briefing during of the 17th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit it is imperative corporations cease locking out minorities on corporate boards and financial transactions.
This year’s summit, “50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice…” puts equality at the forefront.
“The struggle is not over,” says Rev. Jackson. “We must be equal in the board room!” He along with the RainbowPUSH team outlined the facts from “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers” that included:
- Twitter’s recent IPO (with an all-male, all-white board of directors) had just one minority investment banking firm.
- Facebook’s IPO last year, while involved just a handful of minority firms which received less than 1% of investment banking fees.
- Verizon announced a $61 billion bond offering in September with 0% of the business going to minority banks and broker-dealers.
Strikingly absent from the two largest debt deals in history is one key element: minority participation said Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Founder, RainbowPUSH Coalition. during the opening plenary. There were zero minority-owned broker dealers (MWBEs) included in either Apple or Verizon’s landmark transactions. This exclusion accentuates the issue of under-utilization of minority firms in the financial marketplace and elevates the need for a remedy to this problem of inequity.
Rev. Jackson went discussed the study and scoreboard on 160 major corporations, “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers,” at the day’s press briefing. In preparing the study, the Wall Street Project examined debt transactions of 160 major Corporations over a 45 month period from Jan. 2010 to Sept. 30, 2013. The resulting data was then used to create a 5 tier corporate issuer ranking system based on the volume of debt deals that went to market, frequency of minority participation on those deals and the number of minority firms that participated on the deals. The report can be downloaded here.
The study was the cornerstone of The Wall Street Economic Summit which brings together more than seven hundred of the nation’s leaders in political, corporate, entrepreneurial and other industries to WALL STREET – all to discuss the economic congruity and concerns distinctive to men and women of African American, Hispanic and diverse cultures.
The Opening Plenary session was moderated by Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D, Founder & President, Last Word Productions. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition delivered the opening remarks where he officially released the “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers study.” Don Graves, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House & Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, State of New York also gave remarks along with Ralph G. Moore, President, RGMA; Sabrina Philson, Principal, Epsilon Advisors, LLC served as the featured speaker and lead author and researcher of today’s report.
After the opening plenary, the “Will Your Job Exist in 5 Years, 10 Years?” session went in-depth on the nature of work and the U.S. workforce in the decades to come. Featured speaker, Jeanne DiFrancesco, Principal of ProOrbis, LLC, speaking on college stated, “Students needs to be self learners and learn quickly, they need to be able to apply what they learn and what they know and they need to be self initiating.” DiFrancesco stressed that students should show potential employers the ability to learn quickly when interviewing for a position.
Sharon Epperson, Correspondent for CNBC moderated the Equity and Parity luncheon, which honored Cathy Hughes, Chairperson and Founder of Radio One, Inc, and New York City Comptroller, Scott M. Stringer brought greetings. Featured speaker, Latondra Newton, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer of Toyota Motor North America Inc., spoke on diversity and stated that, “The conversation on inclusion and diversity used to be a window but now it looks more like a mirror.” To close out the luncheon, Grammy nominated artist SWV (Sisters with Voices) performed their hit single “Weak” to a standing only crowd. They are currently the stars of WE TV’s newest hit show SWV reunited, airing Thursday nights at 10PM ET/PT.
“If the walls had not been snatched down by the civil rights leaders, we could not have a Super Bowl, we changed the way the NFL operated, all free agents around the world sat on the shoulders of the civil rights struggle,” stated Rev. Jackson, as the day segue into one of the key afternoon session’s “The Business of Sports.” The sports session focused on the economic impact African Americans have on the $470 Billion US Sports Sector Industry. Rev. Jackson, Sr., and NBA Legend Isiah Thomas were joined by leading sports agents, analyst, personalities and players, including, moderator Chris Broussard, Sports Analyst, ESPN and panelist Barbara Arnwine, Attorney & Co-Chair Rainbow PUSH Coalition-Sports; Rushia Brown, WNBA Legend & Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae Association; Everett L. Glenn, President & Chief Executive Officer, Entertainment & Sports Plus; Shurnette Henry, Financial Advisor; Curtis Symonds, Chief Executive Officer, HBCU Net; and Brandon Williams, NFL Tight End, Carolina Panthers.
At “The Business of Sports” session Chris Broussard, Sports Analyst at ESPN, moderated a dynamic conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rev. Jackson, speaking to life after the playing field, minority coaches at the NFL and college level, to tackling the concussion and the positive response to Michael Sam coming out as gay man prior to the upcoming NFL draft. The sports session focused on the economic impact African Americans have on the $470 Billion US Sports Sector Industry. NBA Legend Isiah Thomas joined the session along with leading sports agents, analyst, personalities and players, including, panelist Barbara Arnwine, Attorney & Co-Chair Rainbow PUSH Coalition-Sports; Rushia Brown, WNBA Legend & Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae Association; Everett L. Glenn, President & Chief Executive Officer, Entertainment & Sports Plus; Shurnette Henry, Financial Advisor; Curtis Symonds, Chief Executive Officer, HBCU Net; and Brandon Williams, NFL Tight End, Carolina Panthers.
Day two of the conference ended with the Gala Fundraising Reception titled “Wall Street Goes Uptown to Harlem” at The Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, New York. The Broadway musical After Midnight gave a special performance. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio made an appearance at the Gala and spoke to the attendees about his vision for New York City and said it was a humbling moment to be in attendance, remembering his time as a volunteer on Rev. Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign. “A lot of today is a part of what we did. That campaign was a part of our progress. We support the work of Rev. Jackson. We are taking a comprehensive approach to equality. We alone can have an enormous impact.” The mayor went on to say “When we talk about the lack of blacks on corporate boards, we in government have some tools to support him [Rev. Jackson]. The Wall Street Project has been pushing in the right direction. If we are not inclusive then we won’t be the America we were meant to be.”
Rev. Jackson will hold a final press briefing on Thursday, Feb. 13th in the Sheraton Times Square, Carnegie Suite West, 3rd floor at 9:45 AM.
The 2014 honorary co-chairs are Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, D-NY 9th District, Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Macy’s, Inc., General Motors will host a Media Day focusing on opportunities for minority media with the automaker and Houston Style Magazine will serve as a promotional media sponsor.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. To register or for summit highlights visit: www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org or call (646)-569-5889