By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

This is the 20th Anniversary of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project - and there is much to celebrate indeed.  While many of us are now familiar with the phrases "financial literacy," "economic disparities," "investment," "development," "diversification," etc., few  realize that I was Rev. Jackson who first put those concepts on the radar of Black consciousness when he first enunciated then before, during and after the Mayoral campaign of Mayor David N. Dinkins, New York's First (and so far, only) Black Mayor.  Most of us were clueless about hedge funds and pension funds, when Rev. Jackson posited them as a solution to the then economic slump New York City was facing.


And the concept of economic parity as a civil right was definitely unheard of!  But when Rev. Jackson made the announcement at Mitchell-Titus - a renowned Black owned and run CPA firm, there were mixed emotions.  Most Blacks had no interaction with Wall Street at the time, except through the back door.  Certainly not as insiders.  And definitely not as major players.   The connection to civil rights, while many were still dealing with basic issues such as employment, education, health and living situations - seemed far fetched.

But here we are, 20 years hence, and Rev. Jackson's Wall Street Project is stronger, more powerful and more cutting edge than ever.  And over the past 20 years Rev. Jackson and his team of research experts have brought major players to the table who most likely would never have considered the African American community  as serious players in the game of investment and hight finance.

So powerful was Rev. Jackson's drive to move the needle forward in providing us with information and resources ahead of the curve - that the World Trade Center attack did not stop him from hosting the 2001 Summit, which had previously been held at the World Trade Center, and on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange - finding a new home at the Sheraton, where it's remained for the past fifteen years.

This year, for the first time, the Wall Street Summit will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on East 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan.

Those of you who need additional information, or who want to register, can log on to the link below:


In an era of T-rump, I echo Susan Taylor's statement at her recently held National Cares Mentoring Movement Gala, "We need Rev. Jackson now more than ever."  It cannot be emphasized enough how serious it is that we not only have an intellectual understanding of financing, investment, development, and economic parity; but that we become integrally and actively involved - hands on - as major players - whether we are at the hedge funds level, or at the penny stocks - whether we form our own investment clubs, credit union, buyers programs - cross collateralize our own joint owned real estate developments; whether we invest locally, nationally or internationally - we have to start now - and Rev. Jackson is trying to give us the tools and the rules by which to make it happen.  

I had the privilege of doing a brief telephonic interview with Rev. Jackson a week prior to the Summit, which runs from Wednesday, February 15 through Friday, February 17.  

This is the transcript:

JJ = Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.  
GDW = Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Live interview with Rev. Jackson –February 9, 2017

GDW:  Good afternoon Rev. Jackson.  Thanks for taking the time to give me this interview.  It was wonderful seeing you last week at Susan Taylor's National Cares Awards gala.

JJ:  It was a wonderful event  - she's special.

GDW:  Well, I guess this is 20 years, i get to wish you happy anniversary.  

JJ:  Thank you very much.

GDW:  You can wish me happy anniversary too - this is my 20th year of covering the Wall Street Project.  

JJ:  (Laughing) Thank you! Thank you!  

GDW:  Yes, from the time you made the announcement in 1996, all the way through to now.  It's a labor of love, that's for sure.  So shall we gat started?

JJ:  Yes Ma'am 

GDW:  Okay, I'm going to let you call me Ma'am, but...

JJ:  That's just my southern way of talking, from South Carolina!

GDW:  I'm originally from Oklahoma, so I understand.    So, first of all, since this is the 20th Anniversary,   what are the top  things of which you are most proud over the 20 years since you started the Wall Street Summit?

JJ:  We put access to capital beyond the right to vote, beyond segregation on the agenda. For example, we were able to get the New York Stock Exchange to recognize Dr.King's birthday – so the whole of Wall Street closes down for his birthday; it had not been doing that before.

Secondly, for the first time African Americans are getting access to pension funds and hedge funds for investment purposes. The question becomes for us, where is the money – billions of dollars in State pension funds, teachers' pension funds, SEIU and UAW and the like – even though we contributed to those funds, but we did not manage them, or determine what they were invested in. The big, tall down town buildings are almost all raised with some pension fund investment; or some pension fund risk. And you do not get that kind of money just by having a private savings account. That's what those monies are.

GDW: I remember when you were trying to get Mayor Dinkins to use the pension funds to help save NY City schools and infrastructure - New York was in a crisis - 

JJ:   Well the --- about the pipeline in Dakota – the kind of fight that is dealing with billions of dollars. The state of Washington has withdrawn $3 billion from Wells Fargo in pension funds; and so has the state of California. It's that level of financing that we must engage in and be able to manipulate those resources for growth and development.  February 15 through the 17th is the conference in New York at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 42 St. The minister's luncheon is that Wedenesday the 15th; the Gala is that Thursday, the 16. Many people, like Susan Taylor, who have made such a great contribution to our struggle – if you want more info you can contact the Rainbow Push Wall Street Summit – 
We fought for a long time to end slavery, then to end segregation as a matter of law; and then the right to vote, but not access to capital. If you could put it up in where we live,

GDW: Do you see any opportunities for African American investors now that President Obama has opened the gates to Cuba

JJ: All that we have fought for we are experiencing a devastating reaction – a set back -  the fact that Trump would put Jeff Sessions – who is George Wallace times fifty. Wallace was the segregationist, states' righter of a state. Jefferson Sessions now has the same power over fifty states. H's George Wallace times fifty.  This has created a well stream in the quest for justice.
Putting a woman – DeVos - over education who has never been to a public education school; not certified to teach school – even second grade; not to mention a principal – as secretary of education.  The department of labor secretary who is against raising minimum wage for working people.

So the Trump phenomena is going to be hurtful for a while – but we must not surrender. There will be another election in 24 months; if we turn our pain and passion into voting this time, as we should have voted the last time, we'll feel the difference. Those who did not should put Trump's picture on their wall to remind them of the mistake they made.

GDW:: Are there any strategies that can be brought to bear to make sure that the progress that you've made does not get undermined at this particular point?

JJ: I think the thing is to be alert. For example, the Women's March on January 21 was a wake up call. Now the struggle to protect the lives, life styles, life options of refugees. But thee will be other issues coming up and we must be ready to fight it at every stage of the game. Protect the right to vote, fair housing, wages for workers, access to capital, access to a fair and modern public education. We can't just vote and go home, we must vote and follow through ourselves. We must be accountable – not just make our officials accountable – we must be accountable as voters. There are 10 million Blacks unregistered! It's a sin to have that many people eligible to vote, don't vote, and then complain about what happened.

If you don't do your best, you earn what you get!!

We all deserve better!!

GDW: Rev. Jackson, you and I are both members of what we call the Divine Nine of Fraternities and Sororities – are there any opportunities collectively to become major players in the Wall Street Project.

JJ: Yes, we want the Divine Nine to be a part of this as delegates; and representatives in the Gala – but with a follow through. Because the fact that in order to have access to capital from being investors, must be even moreso investors. But only by coming to a session like Wall Street where you learn who the real key financial players are in the country. Use that talent to advance our cause

GDW: We talked about Cuba, but what about African and investment opportunities and partnerships there?

JJ: Several major investors will be there from South Africa, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, at the international Investment Summit.

GDW: Ghana has a new president, and it's their 60th anniversary coming up

JJ: So does the Gambia – it's a changing of the government.

GDW:  Rev. Jackson, thanks so much for taking time to do this interview with me.  I look forward to seeing you and being front and center on Wednesday and throughout the conference.

JJ:  Thank you as well.  ###

Rev. Jackson  has been consistent on every level  from activism through economic development and keep the information before us- but we keep missing the message or taking for granted that somehow or other a magic wand was going to be waved and things would just miraculously happen.  

And now we are almost at ground zero - the rest of the world is moving forward  and we need to be part of that movement - regardless of age or wage - Warren Buffet started at the age of 7!! How many 7 year old geniuses do we currently have within our own household that have not been given the opportunity to apply their interest because we didn't take them seriously?   Or because we, ourselves, lacked the knowledge to support his or her interest?

And how about those of you who thought you missed the boat because of your age - there are countless numbers of late-stage millionaires being made daily - but that's because they weren't afraid of risks, trying something new and opening their minds.  And those of you in between - the Millennials and Gen-Z generation - it's about money, but it's not just about money only - it's still and always will be people first, money second.  Your advanced technological knowhow has certainly put you ahead of the game in so many wonderful ways - but you have peers who now need to be brought up to speed in order for us all to move the needle from the red zone to the green (in the Black) - so that we all prosper.  It's about literacy - both financial and cognitive  as well as about unity.  

The monkey wrench that has been thrown into the wheels of democracy challenges us to stop talking in platitudes, and begun putting our money where our mouths are, and action behind our theories.  It's no longer or, it's both and, and we have to be about it across the generations if we are to thrive (not just survive) these next two to four years.    We can ill afford to take a "wait and see" what happens attitude; nor can we afford to cosign or normalize the abnormal, bury our heads in the sand, or give up.  It really is about empowering ourselves through knowledge and action.

I hope to see you at the RainbowPUSH Wall Street Project this week - to celebrate their 20th Anniversary but more importantly to make this the first of many anniversaries of your own progressive financial literacy and empowerment as we align ourselves with Rev. Jackson and avail ourselves of the wealth of information he is providing.  

Knowledge is power, action is empowering

Now that you know, 
what are you going to do about it?

Here's the link - register now - see you there 


Stay Blessed & 

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