NEW YORK - Thousands of New Yorkers attended a first-of-its-kind Black Money Forum Sunday at the opulent Kings Theater in Flatbush. Organizers say the goal is to empower Black and Brown people to take control of their finances and build their wealth.
The event was organized, in-part, by the Brooklyn Bank, a nonprofit that aims to foster financial independence in communities of color. Jude Bernard, who founded the organization, says they do this on a much smaller scale all the time, but decided Juneteenth was their chance to expand.
"Just the same way the slave did not know that they were free, there's a lot of people in this country who do not know that they're financially free and they don't know that they have the opportunities to close the wealth gap," he tells CBS2's Hannah Kliger.
The forum was co-sponsored by Stash, a New York-based personal finance company. Erick Smith, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Senior Manager, says their goal was to get this community to start investing.
"Growing up, right, you never really had this education in schools, and just having that here, in the heart of Brooklyn and during a day like today, it warms my heart," he said.
According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 people, conducted by Stash, Black Americans were struggling more than other groups to manage and grow their wealth. Organizers say Sunday's forum aims to tackle that very disparity.
"Change your relationship with money. Instead of working hard for money, make sure you learn that the right relationship is that money works hard for you," said Ash Cash, host of a financial podcast called "Inside the Vault."
He was among the event's speakers, which also included real estate investors, business owners, career coaches, stock traders, and more.
Audience members say they also came for the networking opportunities.
"Coming to events like this helps you open your mindset, helps you see what's possible, you see what's out there, what's better, what's more," said Brandon Jackson from Ozone Park.
"It's just a beautiful setting," added Tevin Facey. "The amount of people that are here, and especially people of color, trying to learn the information."
The Brooklyn Bank also hosts additional networking events, tax clinics, and giveaways.
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