Jonathan Jackson, John Rogers, Bobby Rush, Dorothy Brown and Rev. Jesse L. Jackson at the Operation PUSH headquarters in Chicago

On Saturday, January 21, a monster winter storm (blizzard conditions with one inch of snowfall per hour, up to ten inches in some areas), cancelled scheduled guest speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appearance, but the critical conversation did occur as planned at Operation PUSH headquarters, located on Chicago’s south side.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson was joined by his son Jonathan Jackson, national spokesperson for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Capital Management John W. Rogers Jr., Congressman Bobby L. Rush, and Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown to launch a serious discussion about the state of Black businesses, media equity and economic justice.

Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson (on Civil Rights)
“Civil Rights is the government protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Without intervention, the minority would not be protected. We were not protected from slavery until the government intervened. Now we have laws on the books, individual laws…to protect us that are not being enforced.”

Congressman Bobby Rush (on media equity)
“You have a corporation like News Corp. that owns Fox and other media outlets all in one area, so that’s a concentration of media ownership by just a few people. In the field of communication, they can dictate the politics, and dictate the economy of any given area, because communication is key, and we have one man, basically, Rupert Murdoch…spoon feeding what he wants us to know.”

Dorothy Brown (on equity in minority business contracts)
“It’s so important to help to build African American companies and minority companies. My first contract was 30 percent for a minority company… I asked why. I gave 50 percent to a majority company and 50 percent to a minority company.”

John Rogers, (on the Top Lists roundup of businesses by Crain’s Chicago Business)

“Can you imagine the majority/minority population of African Americans, companies ran by African Americans, and we have three [companies listed] out of 400? And then when they list the top 100 paid executives, the top CEOs in town, there were zero African Americans in the top 100, and that’s in 2011. How can that be–that you’re shining light on the fact that we are not being included?”

Jonathan Jackson (on economic justice)
“The Wall Street Project is so important is because they are making a mockery of King by calling it the National Day of Service. Martin Luther King was committed to a life of service. We celebrate Martin Luther King because his final frontier was economic justice…this is the reason this building is called Dr. King’s workshop.

The meeting was a prelude to the upcoming 15th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit.

The 15th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit will be held on Wednesday, January 25 – Friday, January 27, 2012 at the Sheraton NY Hotel & Towers in New York, NY. The theme is “We Are One World – Bringing Everyone to the Table: Celebrating Fifteen Years of Access to Capital, Industry and Technology.”

For more information, visit or call 646.599.9216

Deputy Editor, Rolling Out