The Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project will host the 16th Annual Wall Street Economic Summit in New York City this Wednesday through Friday. This year's summit – "Wall Street to Main Street" – focuses on access to capital, career development and labor. In this interview, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and The Wall Street Project, talks about the Annual Economic Summit.
Kam Williams: Hi Rev. Jackson, thanks for the interview.
Rev. 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 No. 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 percent be a part of the solution for the woes of the 99 percent?
JJ: The 1 percent 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, Rev. Jackson, and best of luck with the Economic Summit.