The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) and its Just Opportunity Circle will address issues related to income inequality, economic mobility and widespread poverty at its inaugural Just Opportunity Summit, June 20-21, at Morehouse College.

According to its founder and chief equity offer Nathaniel Smith, PSE and its partners believe that the summit can realize a more just, inclusive and competitive economy in the American South regardless of someone’s race or where they live.

“The summit is central to our work of creating an intentional space for all who, regardless of their occupation or influence, are committed to moving the needle on racial and economic inclusion,” said Nathaniel Smith, founder and chief equity officer of PSE. “The Just

Opportunity Summit will be an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn about proven strategies, connect to efforts already underway, and for regional partners to act more strategically in advancing an agenda of racial and economic equity.”

“The Just Opportunity Summit is grounded in the belief of equity and hard data. According to PolicyLink’s Employment Equity Report, ‘achieving true ‘full employment’ across all racial and gender groups—bringing 384,000 more workers into employment—would add $2.4 billion in new state and local tax revenue annually’,” Smith added. “The hypothesis is that the more people with jobs will have enough money to spend in their communities, moving everyone up the socio-economic ladder. The Just Opportunity Summit is aimed at making this into a reality, not just for Georgia, but throughout the American South.”

Smith said also said the two-day conference will bring together community leaders—like Michael McAfee, president and CEO of PolicyLink; civic luminaries including Bill Hawthorne, chief equity officer of the City of Atlanta; and corporate titans plus Sekou Kaalund, head of Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase—together to strategize and mobilize to eliminate barriers for those who want jobs, businesses, and a chance for success.

Organizers of the summit said they also expect strong representation from academics and researchers, public policy professionals, community advocates, college students and young professionals. The summit will also provide an opportunity for regional leaders and subject matter experts to have roundtable discussions on priority topics for metropolitan Atlanta, including:

• Closing the racial wealth gap for communities of color;
• Growing sustainable communities for a stronger economy;
• Leveraging public & private procurement for economic inclusion;
• Policy transformation for working families; and,
• Preparing and engaging youth for equitable employment

(Photo: Kevin Duong/ Georgia State University)]

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