For Immediate Release
September 10, 2010
Contact Information

Christopher Brown
OwensMorris Communications, Inc.


(BLACK PR WIRE) NEW YORK (September 8) -- An open forum to present an in-depth review and discuss disparity in ad industry practices will be hosted by Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

The forum titled “Shut Out: Evaluating Madison Avenue for Disparity in Advertising Media and Creative Services,” Saturday, September 18, 10:30 am – noon, room 143C, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is a collaborative effort of Rep. Towns, Rev. Al Sharpton and Munson Steed, director of Madison Avenue Initiative (MAI) of the National Action Network. The three have assembled a distinguished panel to discuss, analyze and present solutions and actions needed to achieve a more diverse workforce within the advertising industry and parity for black ad agencies and media companies not getting a fair revenue share.

“It has been 46 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and advertising and marketing continue to be one of the most segregated of America’s most vital industries,” said Sharpton, founder and president, National Action Network. “Despite decades of efforts at turning this situation around, the advertising business seems inherently unable to bring about a culture of inclusion.”

”We’re joining Rep. Towns at the CBC conference to launch Madison Avenue Initiative’s thorough investigation into the disparities and business practices that are impacting negatively the urban community, urban youth, and the minority business community,” said Steed, director, Madison Avenue Initiative and CEO, Steed Media Group. “Many reputable companies are in crisis. MAI is working to create new opportunities to close the gap.”

“Madison Avenue Initiative will stay engaged with me as we work to achieve parity for black marketing professionals who remain unemployed or underemployed and agencies and media in crisis because of systemic bias against them,” said Rep. Towns, Representative for New York, 10th District, and chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “I plan to remain involved to see this issue is rectified.”

Adonis Hoffman Esq., chairman, American Business Leadership Institute and author, Doing Good: The New Rules of Corporate Responsibility; Jason Chambers, author, Madison Avenue and the Color Line; Professor, Univ. of Illinois, Cyrus Mehri, founding partner, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC., and Marc Bendick, Jr., Ph.D., co-principal., Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc., author, Research Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry; and Danny Bakewell, chairman, National Newspaper Publisher Association. Ken Smikle, president, Target Market News, is moderator.