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14th Annual Rainbow Push Global Automotive Summit kicks off

DETROIT — Oct. 2, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., automotive partners and community stakeholders kicked off the 14th annual Rainbow Push Global Automotive Summit at MGM Grand Detroit. Early in the day, the Assault on Democracy panel discussed the strategic approach corporations are using to eliminate diversity.

Black thought leaders discussed the importance of measuring Black buying power and the conscientious use of that power.

Cheryl Pearson McNeil of the Neilsen Company, who this week, released a report on Black consumer habits available in this week’s edition of the Michigan Citizen, said it is important to understand how African Americans behave in the marketplace. She also said corporations are a partner in creating an equitable society.

“You can’t talk to the consumer without being a part of the consumer solution,” said  McNeil.

The new Neilsen report — done in partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Black press — also helps to measure Black spending power.

Economist Dr. Julianne Malveaux urged Black Americans to understand they are often the difference between a profitable and underperforming company.

“If you look at markets that have emerged, our communities are the profit margin,” said Dr. Malveaux. “We are the difference between a company making money or not making money.”

Ted Childs and other panelists agreed boycotts are an effective tool that African Americans have failed to employ along with being armed with vital information.

“If the fish stinks look to the head — leadership,” said George Fraser. “This may be the most important conversation we can have with our people. These numbers must be articulated to our people  (so that people can) do things like boycotting or reserving their buying power.”

The summit will also address minority-owned suppliers hardest hit by the economy, marketing to Black consumers, recruiting talented people of color among other topics.

Executive Vice President of General Motors Mark Reuss will also address the group.

— Staff Report

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