The Reverend Jesse Jackson, longtime civil rights leader and the founder of the Rainbow PUSH coalition, has been making big strides in his continued fight for equality for African Americans in the technology innovation space. And this week, he did just that at his 18th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit – “Where Wall Street, Main Street & Silicon Valley Converge” – where he opened the Summit with a one-on-one conversation with Intel?s CEO Brian M. Krzanich about hiring and retaining women and under-represented minorities at Intel by 2020 and having the industry follow their lead.
The week prior, Jackson was Intel?s guest at the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when Krzanich announced a pledge of $300 million for a diversity investment fund for the next generation of aspiring tech professionals.
?Intel has always been a leader in data transparency ? for over a decade they?ve regularly released their EEO-1 and workforce diversity data, long before other tech companies did so last year. Now, Intel?s ?2020 Parity? commitment takes the issue to a qualitatively higher level. And Intel is putting a budget behind its vision, committing $300 million over the next five years,? said Rev. Jackson.?
The Summit kick-off was followed by three days of enlightening panel discussions with entrepreneurs, corporate executives and political leaders that ?evaluated minority participation in the technology industry, increased entrepreneurship, investing in urban communities, identifying the best companies for diversity and the role or lack of African Americans on corporate boards.?
?The Black middle class has grown exponentially, however, there is still room for tremendous growth. There has been growth through government jobs, government contracts and sometimes government mandates. But we must now look at the private sector because they must truly be evaluated. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition?s economic projects are placing renewed emphasis on researching the private sector and holding them accountable,? says Rev. Jackson.?
Another highlight of the summit was the release of ?The Challenge of MWBE Investment Firms: Managing Money for Corporate Pension Funds, Endowments & Foundations.” Findings from the report revealed that asset management is ?among the most profitable industries in the financial services sector with record breaking global profits of $93 billion dollars in 2013?17% higher than the previous year.????????????
Among the attendees and honorary co-chairs were heavyweights John W. Rogers, Jr. Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments, L.L.C.; Alfred C. Liggins, CEO and President, Radio One; and Earl G. (Butch) Graves, Jr., President and CEO, Black Enterprise, to name a few.??