Jesse Jackson
**FILE** The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

The Rainbow PUSH/CEF Automotive Project, an initiative of the Citizenship Education Fund, convenes for its 19th annual Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit, Nov. 1-2 at the Motor City Casino Hotel and Conference Center in Detroit.

The purpose of this year’s theme, “Defining the Critical Path for Ethnic Minority Growth,” is to help guide automotive manufacturers toward implementing specific strategies and initiatives that bolster economic parity for people of color.

“Our presence in the automotive industry is vitally necessary for the advancement of minority suppliers, dealers and other professional vendors,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., president and founder of Rainbow PUSH. “We plan to work with automakers to develop concrete goals and timetables, as we collectively define the critical path for ethnic minority growth. With the integration of technology in the automotive industry and advancement of mobility, minority suppliers and automakers must adjust their game plans accordingly.”

The summit has become the largest auto industry conference for people of color. More than 500 automotive executives, entrepreneurs, auto suppliers, auto dealers, manufacturers, consumers, government and elected officials and students will participate.

Throughout the day there will be concurrent panel discussions focusing on supplier diversity, minority-owned dealerships, advertising and marketing, human resources and professional services. Each panel will focus on improving equality and diversity within every component of the automotive industry.

Highlighted speakers include:

Brian Smith, chief operating officer, Hyundai Motor America
Heath Holtz, senior vice president, Nissan North America
Scott Thiele, chief purchasing officer, FCA Global
Lisa Materazzo, vice president of marketing communications, Toyota Motor North America

The summit also conducts a survey of the 12 largest automakers as a means to gauge their commitment to diversity. Each company’s performance is measured in key areas including employment, philanthropy, supplier diversity, minority dealer development and marketing/advertising.

The findings are compiled in the Automotive Diversity Scorecard and companies are graded using a scoring system comprised of red, yellow and green:

Red: Diversity initiatives and investments are nonexistent or disclosed
Yellow: Shows some indication of diversity
Green: Shows some ethnic diversity proficiency and alignment to best practices

The Automotive Diversity Scorecard will be released during the summit’s press conference scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2 in the MCC2 Room.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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