American Latinos Converge On Wall Street.

On Friday, October 25, 2002 at 9:30 am, Moctesuma Esparza, Chair of the Board of Directors of the New America Alliance led members of the Alliance and the NASDAQ executive team in the ceremony beginning the trading day at the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

In a live broadcast, filled with all the pageantry such an event deserved, Esparza “opened the market” remarking that Latinos were the first venture capitalists, citing that the voyage of Christopher Columbus was financed by Latinos and further, that the American Revolution was financed by Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. As the numbers of American Latinos grow in the US, they will continue to be financiers of large projects in the US.

Richard Grasso, Chairman and CEO of NYSE, welcomed American Latinos to Wall Street, saying that they are wanted there to help reflect the diversity and creativity of the institution and, by their contributions, to create a much stronger partnership.

In his first public address to the New York financial community in his role as the Chief Executive Officer of the largest pension fund in the United States, Fred Buenrostro made key points representing his segment of the financial arena. Founding NAA member, Roel Campos delivered, in his inaugural Wall Street Summit address as the first American Latino
Securities and Exchange Commissioner, a major policy directive.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer met privately at a breakfast with NAA leadership during which they exchanged ideas on how to move forward after this experience. Later in the event, William McDonough of the Federal Reserve noted that in the interest of economic survival, the US has to think outside of its boundaries. Being inclusive of American Latino economic leadership brings other countries into a “hemispheric” view for the future, considering not just Mexico,
Cuba and Puerto Rico but South America as well. In looking at the world in this way, the US will preserve hemispheric, not just national, stability.

One of the goals of the Wall Street Summit was to bring attention to the value of increasing the proportion of American Latinos to reflect their numbers in the community at large. Although Latinos currently comprise 13 percent of the US population, they make up less than 2 percent of corporate board leadership. David Weild, Vice Chairman of NASDAQ, noted that it makes good business sense for the work of the American Latino business community to be embraced by the mainstream community; by the year 2020 30 percent of US population will be of Latin origin. Hardwick Simmons, Chairman and CEO of NASDAQ spoke to the issue of board strength, noting that board independence is no longer an assurance of astute governance. Bringing more American Latinos to serve on corporate boards is central to maintaining a strong and diverse partnership.

As the culmination of the New America Alliance’s 2nd Annual Wall Street Summit, which ran from October 23-25, this event was a very important step in recognizing Latino business leaders as creators of wealth and economic producers and not just consumers. On a day that turned out to be a good one for NASDAQ, which significantly outpaced NYSE, these luminaries spoke out with power and passion about the contributions of American Latinos to the economic health and policy direction of the US business community.

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