Jesse Jackson, Sr. 'Rainbow PUSH Wall St. Project' Interview with Kam Williams
By Kam Williams
Reverend Jackson on Annual Economic SummitThe Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America's foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief.
Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville and then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jackson speaks on a radio broadcast from the headquarters of Operation PUSH, (People United to Save Humanity) at its annual convention. July 1973. Photograph by John H. White. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Kam Williams: Hi, Reverend Jackson, thanks for the interview.
Reverend Jesse Jackson: Thank you, Kam.
KW: What plans do you have for this year's economic summit?
JJ: First, to gather people to discuss the new economic agenda. We just got through the political agenda with the inauguration of President Obama. Now, we have to deal with the economic agenda. No access to capital, needing more access to technology, etcetera. We want to call the banks to invest in America. In 2009 we had 600 black dealerships, today we have 200. We have lost TV and radio stations. We must re-strategize.
KW: Given that we now have an African-American president and black billionaires, is this a post-racial society?
JJ: We don't have a lot of black billionaires, actually. We are not in a post racial society. We are a multi-racial society and substantially racist. We still need to access jobs and contracts-all those level playing fields are very much needed.
KW: What would you say is the #1 economic issue African-Americans are facing today?
JJ: Access to a jobs. Next, the recovery of houses lost when the banks targeted our homes and businesses that move our future forward.*
KW: Do you see Wall Street as being at odds with Main Street, or can the 1% be a part of the solution for the woes of the 99%?
JJ: The %1 have received their needs through greed and lack of regulations-too few have too much and more have none. It's too unequal and unbalanced. The middle class is sinking. A dormant few are at the bottom.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Reverend Jackson, and best of luck with the Economic Summit.
The Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project will host the 16th Annual Wall Street Economic Summit on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - Friday, February 1, 2013. This year's summit, "Wall Street to Main Street" focuses on access to capital, career development and labor.
Special Guests of the event will be U.S. Pres. William Jefferson Clinton, Jamie Foxx, Dionne Warwick and others; Special Performances by Multi-Grammy®-Winning Gospel Recording Artists Mary Mary & cast of the upcoming Broadway show "Motown: The Musical."
Highlights of the three-day summit will include:
Access to Capital Luncheon, Thurs., Jan. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET
Gala Fundraising Reception, Thurs., Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET
Civil Rights & Economic Justice Minister's Luncheon, Fri., Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET Honorees:Rev. Joseph Carter, New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, NJ; Dr. Freddie D. Haynes, III, Sr. Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX& Rev. AndrewWilkes, Affiliate minister, The Greater Allen Cathedral of NY and Editor of Urban Faith. Keynote speaker: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, (D) NY *
The Wall Street Project challenges corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers; while working to ensure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs and consumers.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity.
WSP Sponsors Include: Allstate, Ariel Investments LLC, Bank of America, Blaylock Robert Van, LLC, CitiBank, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase & Co., NYSE Euronext, SEIU,The Boeing Company & Wells Fargo
The 2013 honorary co-chairs:Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Chrmn & CEO, National Newspaper Publishers Association; John Graves, Pres. & CEO, PR Networks, Inc.; Mellody Hobson, Pres., Ariel Investments LLC, Louis James, Pres., & COO, Motor City Logistics; Byron Lewis, Founder & Chrmn, Uniworld Group; Former NY Governor David A. Paterson; R. Donahue Peebles, Chrmn & CEO, The Peebles Corp; James Reynolds, Jr., Co-Founder, Chrmn & CEO, Loop Capital Markets LLC; John W. Rogers, Jr. Chrmn & CEO, Ariel Investments LLC;NY SenatorCharles Schumer (D);Maceo K. Sloan Chrmn, CEO & CIO, NCM Capital& California Congresswoman Maxine Waters(D).
Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.
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