Kudos to Jesse Jackson, Still Fightin' For Black Businesses; Demands That Corporate America Do More Business With Black and Other Minority-Owned Firms

On February 11-13, 2014, Jesse Jackson and other members of his Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project met in New York for the 17th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit. The theme for the event was 50 YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice, and Jackson himself gave a huge presentation on "Minority Inclusion" in Corporate America.

The presentation including a newly published report by his organization that highlights the importance of minority inclusion, or increasing practices in the business marketplace that broaden participation by minorities. Their goal is to level the playing field for Black and other minority business owners.

Diversity Helps The Economy

The report makes a strong case for the importance of diversity as a good business practice. It improves opportunity and economic growth for all. As members of the organization explained at a recent gathering in New York, this continues to be an area in which minority businesses struggle with major corporations. Although minority-owned businesses have grown over the past 17 years, they are often excluded from debt capital market transactions where companies can make long-term investments.

Black and Other Minority-Owned Firms Being Left Out

One example highlighted at the meeting was the fact that there were no minority-owned firms that participated last year in the two largest corporate bond issuance deals in history by Apple and Verizon. Other examples included the fact that 30 percent of S&P 500 companies do not have a single Black board member, and minority business owners continue to struggle with access to capital.

A Double Standard

Jackson also pointed out a huge double standard - that corporations are quick to accept the business of Black consumers, but slow to work with Black-owned businesses. He stated, “This one-way train has to end.”

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition was founded by Rev. Jackson in 1971 as an organization dedicated to improving economic conditions within Black communities across the U.S. Their main office is based in Chicago.

To download the full 2014 report, visit www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org/Minority%20Inclusion%20In%20DCM%20Ranking%20FINAL%20Feb%202014.pdf

To learn more about the Rainbow Push Wall Street Project, visit
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