13:37 PM

Tulsa Race Massacre Economic Empowerment Day Helps Address Racial Wealth Gap

  • Educational event will empower Black investors, institutional investors, business owners and entrepreneurs and start a national conversation on the racial wealth gap
  • Nationwide will support the event’s cause with a $100,000 Nationwide grant and the participation of three top executives
  • Anyone can register to attend virtually by visiting the event website

Many American students never learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre in history class, or about the tragic leveling of a once thriving  “Black Wall Street” in 1921. On June 1, 2021 Black leaders, investors, business owners and entrepreneurs will gather in Tulsa, OK to observe the 100th anniversary of one of the most devastating race crimes in the history of our nation. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission’s Economic Empowerment Day event will mark this milestone with an interactive conference designed to create a collective focal point for the national conversation on the racial wealth gap and inequality in access to capital.

As part of its ongoing commitment to economic empowerment and social justice, Nationwide is supporting this important event with a $100,000 grant from the Nationwide Foundation and the active participation of three top executives.

Eric Stevenson, President of Nationwide Retirement Solutions, is an Oklahoma native and will serve as co-host for the day. Retiring Nationwide Chief Administrative Officer, Gale King and Nationwide Retirement Institute leader, Kristi Martin Rodriguez will participate in panel discussions.

"What’s happening in Tulsa is truly inspiring. Rather than continuing to bury the reality of what happened, the community is embracing its past and using it as a model for how we can accelerate our progress," Stevenson said. "With leadership from Governor Stitt, Senator Lankford, State Senator Matthews, Mayor Bynum, Commission project director, Phil Armstrong and many others, what started as a local effort has become a unifying event and it's driving national awareness and conversations. We are deeply grateful to our sponsors from all over the country who are elevating what happened 100 years ago in the Greenwood District to put words into action and enhance the path forward."

Stevenson will co-host Economic Empowerment Day along with actor and author, Hill Harper and Ron Parker, President & CEO of the National Association of Securities Professionals. The event includes an interactive conference with in-person and virtual opportunities for education and networking as well as high-profile keynote speakers. It is part of a weeks-long programing lineup that includes the June 2 dedication of Greenwood Rising: The Black Wall Street History Center.

“We are thankful to Nationwide for partnering with the Commission to engage Tulsans and Americans about the Racial Wealth Gap on Economic Empowerment Day,” said Phil Armstrong, project director for the Centennial Commission. “Black Wall Street was once thriving and we must create systematic changes to recapture Black wealth in all facets – from personal wealth building, to entrepreneurship and capital. We hope this day is a launching point for change in many lives.”

Anyone can register to attend virtually for $19.21 by visiting the event website. Proceeds benefit the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Fund, administered as a donor-designated fund through the Tulsa Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Specific priorities to be funded are:

  • Access to capital for Black entrepreneurs (TRMCC Economic Development Committee)
  • Entrepreneurship development programs (Sky’s the Limit/Mortar)
  • Economic development and internship programs for Black youth (Tulsa Regional Chamber/GKFF)

Additional, ongoing, Nationwide efforts to address racial disparity and social justice include:

  • Launching the Financial Alliance for Racal Equity in 2020, a coalition of financial services industry partners and historically Black colleges and universities dedicated to attracting, developing and retaining a more diverse workforce in the financial services industry.
  • Advocating for equality for decades through partnerships with the National Fair Housing Alliance, National Urban League and UnidosUS and long-standing relationships with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Executive Leadership Council, the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit and Catalyst.
  • Ongoing internal efforts to identify tangible ways for the company to combat racism and promote social justice through the lens of a Social Justice Task Force made up of diverse leaders across the company.
  • Continued commitment to having a diverse Board of Directors and leadership team alongside robust DEI and supplier diversity programs.