“Economic prosperity for all isn’t a black, brown, or white issue; it’s an American issue,” Laysha Ward, the executive vice president and chief external engagement officer of Target, said at the “America’s Future Summit: Unlocking Potential, Advancing Prosperity.” Her words set the tone for a day of conversations about advancing Latino economic mobility. In May, the Institute’s Latinos and Society Program hosted the third America’s Future Summit in Chicago, where Latinos are now the largest minority group—a reflection of America’s demographic future. Nearly 200 entrepreneurs, government officials, educators, and experts gathered at Malcolm X College to explore ways to create good jobs, avenues to wealth, balanced development, and inclusive environments for entrepreneurs of color.
“Knowledge is power, and just like wealth, not everyone has it,” Jorge Pule, the citywide youth council director for the Mikva Challenge Foundation, told the audience. “We must build and share social capital. Communities can’t collectively thrive if people aren’t informed.” Later, former US Education Secretary and Henry Crown fellow Arne Duncan highlighted the academic trends in marginalized communities. “Over the past 20 years, Latino college completion rates have doubled,” he said. “That’s the good news. The bad news is that they doubled from 8 percent to 15 percent. We have to accelerate the pace of change.”
Conversations that began onstage continued in working-group sessions; the details and ideas from those sessions were published in September.