John Hope Bryant’s message of financial education and financial freedom inspired America’s top business leaders to fight for “silver rights,” which he coined to describe minorities and economic empowerment of low-income communities.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being sick and tired,” Bryant said earlier this month at the Hope Global Forum, his annual conference Nonprofits want action. “Our goal is that when your children grow up, financial literacy is in school – from kindergarten to university – as a requirement, so that everyone can learn the language of money.”
To that end, in 2021, Action for Hope launched the Financial Literacy for All initiative, a joint initiative with Walmart, Bank of America, Disney and others.
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Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, Financial Literacy for All co-chairs and other initiative partners Bryant was joined by business leaders including Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, PayPal President and CEO Dan Shulman, billionaire investor Tony Ressler and civil rights icon and former U.S. ambassador Andrew Yang Atlanta wants the stage at the Global Forum to talk about silver rights and the power of financial literacy.
Financial literacy is ‘a fundamental issue’
Operation Hope founder and CEO John Hope Bryant (far right) talks with PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman (left to right) during a panel at the Hope Global Forum in Atlanta; Tony Ressler , executive chairman of Ares Management and majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks; and Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart.
Image credit: Action for Hope
“We want all of our employees to understand how to manage their money,” McMillan said in an exclusive interview with CNBC at the Hope Global Forum. “John Hope Bryant and I founded the Financial Literacy for All program to provide financial education.
“We think this is a fundamental issue for families and our country.”
Ahead of the forum, Bryant described the event on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” as “like Davos for the working class, empowering the poor and the underprivileged.”
“We have the ability to make the economy work for everyone,” he said. “A lot of the attendees, the 4,000 delegates, were working class people who had too much money spent.”
Hope Action focuses on wealth inequality in black communities and communities of color and closes that gap. As of the second quarter of 2022, the average white household has $1.27 million in wealth; compared with $316,000 for the average black household and $291,000 for the average Hispanic household, according to the St. Louis Fed. louis.
The nonprofit is also committed to creating 1 million new Black-owned businesses by 2030. Doing so is another path to economic empowerment and wealth creation.
Bryant says In this case, Silver Rights must be the next step in the civil rights and global social justice movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
“Looking at social justice from an economic perspective, you can do good and be good at the same time.”
“In order to be something, we often need to see it first”
With a possible recession looming, it’s important to demystify money matters and encourage financial preparation, Troy Millings and financial advisor Rashad Bilal of the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast told forum attendees. The pair have more than 1 million followers on Instagram, many of them new investors in the black and brown communities.
“In order to be something, we often need to see it first,” Millings said. “When people see us creating brokerage accounts and investing in startups and building businesses, they think there’s an opportunity and we can do it.
“Our mission is to educate people, but also show them how to do it.”
They encourage a long-term view of the value of financial literacy.
“Look at five, ten, twenty years from now,” Bilal said. “It stops you from spending money, it gives you an emergency fund, it forces you to save for retirement and your children’s education.”
In a fireside chat with Bryant, Bishop TD Jakes, senior pastor of the Dallas-based megachurch Potter’s House, discussed the need for faith leaders to be important voices in the civil and silver rights movements.
Jakes is a strong advocate of real estate investing, especially for young African-Americans.
“Homeownership is my bible,” Jakes told CNBC ahead of the fireside chat. “You can build wealth in appreciating assets.”
“The problem with our community is that we’re burning through depreciating assets,” he said. “Young people today are not interested in owning a home because they want mobility.
“We’re not trying to fix you so you can’t move, we’re trying to fix you so you’re financially empowered and build wealth to pass on to your children.”