On June 17, 2022, Blacks on Wall Street, Inc. (BoWS) held its Annual Blacks on Wall Street Forum at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of Juneteenth.
High school students and leaders of youth organizations gathered to participate in a candid panel discussion on history, technology, global economics, and direction towards change, along with personal experiences shared by the panelists.
The forum took place on the first anniversary of President Joe Biden signing into legislation Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
The event opened with a Welcome by Blacks on Wall Founder and CEO Dennis Creary, followed by a visit to the Trading Floor to observe the ritual ringing of the Closing Bell signaling the end of the day’s trading.
The Closing Bell was led by HBCU leaders, Black corporate representatives, and the Professional Pipeline Development Group, a Black-owned consultant firm.
Notably, Sharon Bowen, NYSE Chair, graced the balcony, illuminating historical change as the first woman and black person to serve as the NYSE Board Chairperson.
In an interview, she shared her thoughts on Juneteenth, stating, “I’m here as a product of those who fought for civil rights in this country; so I’m going to celebrate the importance of that.”
Bowen acknowledged that although progress has been made, there is still more that can be done, noting:
“It’s an inflection point for us as a country. We’ve made progress, but there are so many more things we can do… One of our jobs is to connect people to opportunities…”
Blacks on Wall Street (BoWS) is aligned with making those much-needed changes. Its mission is to close the professional opportunity gap by providing resources to underserved youth to fulfill promising careers.
Following the closing bell, Stephanie Barimah, COO of BoWS, discussed ways that the organization is working towards fulfilling its mission and highlighted initiatives and partnerships that provide resources for training, scholarships, internships, leadership and education. Some presenting partners at the event included America on Tech, World of Money and Npower, and AFCEA, who shared resources with the high school students.
One such partnership is with the Global Economic Symposium (GES), which provides students from various socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to present research-based economic solutions to international and regional challenges through a competition.
Blacks on Wall Street sponsored the March 2022 GES competition, and as a prize, winners from Rhode Island and New Orleans traveled to the BoWS Forum in New York City where they were recognized for their efforts.
East Greenwich High School students from Rhode Island received the first-place prize. Their project, “Energy Dependence: Increasing Self-sufficiency through Renewable Sources” focused on the current crisis in Ukraine to address the role of renewable technology in creating independence for vulnerable countries.
Students from McDonogh 35 Senior High School in New Orleans tackled the “Racial Wealth Gap” issue where they noted the global practice of reparations, measured the impacts of money owed to Black Americans and explored solutions.
The teams received acknowledgment at the forum for their outstanding presentations, answering the burning question: What global economic problem does your project address?
The event culminated with a panel discussion with Creary as leader of BoWS, Sabrina Lamb, Founder/CEO of World of Money, and Eric Darrisaw, Governing Board Member of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
Each panelist spoke candidly about their experiences and factors that led to their life’s work in their respective industries. Common themes such as history, empowerment, technology, and youth opportunities were evoked among the panel.
Creary, an IT executive in the financial and technology services industry whose experience spans technology, business, and nonprofit management, spoke poignantly on Black Wall Street’s history.
He shared his experience of being taught African enslavement while growing up in the UK, explaining the post-Civil War dispersal of Black soldiers who fought for the British to the Caribbean and UK.
Creary is known for his outstanding work in the community. He is the recipient of the 2017 Charles T. Haffey Community Service Award and the 2019 Harlem Good Scout. Creary, through BoWS, aims to close the income gap of minorities in the technology and financial industries by furnishing youth with skills that will enable them to create wealth.
Sabrina Lamb, during the panel, evoked being inspired by political and social activists while attending college. Creating a solution to a need within the African American community, she developed World of Money to educate and empower youth (and their parents) through financial literacy.
Lamb’s dedication to providing immersive youth financial education has contributed to the success of 5,000 students ages 7-21 since the program’s inception in 2005. Using technology to advance her mission further, Sabrina created the World of Money App and is the Founder/CEO of Wekeza. This fintech start-up provides access to free investor education and investing in US publicly traded companies.
Eric Darrisaw is a thirty-year veteran in the investment industry and Principal of Lazarus Advisors, LLC., who serves on the Croatan Institute’s Racial Equity Economics Finance and Stability (REEFS) research and steering committee.
He gave insight on being influenced by civil rights, which contributed to his life work in advancing racial equity.
Growing up near Wall Street, a young and inspired Darrisaw immersed himself in information technology and finance and aligned himself with mentors and leaders, becoming highly sought and well-respected in his field.
The events and discussions from the Juneteenth event hosted by Blacks on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange surely left everyone inspired. In the spirit of the historic Black Wall Street, BoWS continues to do the work necessary to bridge the professional opportunity gap for underrepresented youth to acquire the skills needed to create Black wealth.
About Blacks on Wall Street, Inc.
Blacks on Wall Street, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to close the professional opportunity gap by providing underrepresented youth the resources to achieve promising careers. Their website is www.blacksonwallstreet.org.
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