Today, Oct. 13, Rainbow Push is commemorating 15 years of driving ethnic inclusion in the automotive industry with this year’s Global Automotive Summit in Detroit. The initiative, backed by the Citizen Education Fund, celebrates diversity and relationships established that make the work the automotive industry stronger and more inclusive of all demographics and ways of life.
This year’s event, with national sponsors such as Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, takes place in Detroit, Michigan. Black Enterprise’s SVP/Chief Content Officer, Alfred A. Edmond, Jr. is moderating the panel: “Spotlight on Automotive Minority Legacy Suppliers: Coaching the Next Generation,” featuring John W. Barfield, founder, Bartech Group; Lawrence Crawford, D.D.S. Chairman and CEO, Diversity Vuteq; Steve Hightower, president, Hightowers Petroleum Company; John James, chairman and CEO, The James Group International; Louis James, president and CEO, MCL Jasco; William “Bill” Pickard, chairman and CEO, VITEC and Global Automotive Alliance; Leon Richardson, president and CEO, ChemicoMays; Roderick Rickman, chairman and CEO, Rickman Enterprise Group.
Other event highlights include esteemed journalist Ed Gordan, serving as a moderator for the Leadership Town Hall Breakfast & Panel Discussion, “A New Narrative: Has Diversity Become A Diversion?” Panelists include George Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association; Prof. Leonard Greenhalgh, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and author; Benjamin Chavis, Jr., interim president and CEO of National Newspaper Publisher Association; and Ron Busby, Sr., U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce.
The one-day event will conclude with The Living Legends and Emerging Leaders Awards & Networking Reception honoring six amazing, legends of the auto world such as Eric Peterson, U.S. vice president, Diversity Dealer, General Motors; Leon Richardson, president and CEO, ChemicoMays; James “Jimmy” Settles Jr., vice president, United Auto Workers; Louis Green, president, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council; Emerging Leaders Andre Hudson (Hyundai Motor America, and Machelle Williams (Volkswagen Group of America).
Rainbow Push, was founded in 1996 by the Reverend Jesse Jackson with the civil rights goal of improving economic empowerment, education and striving for peace, justice, and social change for people across the world. In 1998, the Rainbow Push Automotive Project was created to extend Jackson’s goal of diversity by bridging gaps and jump-starting key opportunities for people of color who work in the automotive industry. Commemorating the amazing work done over the past 15 years, Rainbow Push also looks to the future, by providing scholarships to 25 students attending higher education across the United States.