How minorities can help make America great again

China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-01-11 11:53

President-elect Donald Trump is well on his way to earning the title of Disruptor-in-Chief.

From using Twitter for policy pronouncements, to untraditional Cabinet and administration appointments, the next White House occupant has shaken up business and politics as usual.

Yet, shifts in the economic status quo have been rumbling for some years, and those who care about Making America Great Again would be wise to pay heed: ethnic minorities are set to become the most powerful consumer group in the United States within the first term of Trump's administration.

The buying power of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans is on the verge of an explosion, driven by demographic trends, immigration, higher levels of education and entrepreneurship.

This "New Majority" or, as my friend Sol Trujillo called it recently, "The New Mainstream Economy", could be the engine to propel America not just to the historic standard of Great, but to chart sustainable growth that taps the strength, skills and savvy of a multicultural force.

According to a study conducted by Jeffery Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia Selig Center, the buying power of minorities is forecast to reach over $4.1 trillion in 2019, just halfway into the Trump Administration's term. If this New Mainstream Economy were a separate country, it would be the third largest in the world, after the United States and China.

Looking farther ahead, by 2050, today's so-called "minorities" will represent the dominant group, accounting for more than half of the total US population.

As a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan who arrived in 1965 to "the land of opportunity", I'm awed and inspired by the future that is taking shape. When I founded the Asian American Business Development Center in 1994, my mission was to get Asian Americans to play bigger roles in their communities and businesses.

That vision has expanded to embrace all of America's minority groups in business, as I believe that we need to look beyond our clannish interests to partner across ethnic lines in order to be successful in the next stage of nation building.

I know I'm not alone in this conviction. Sol, who wrote passionately and persuasively about the need to include Hispanic voices and influence in the new administration, will join me and a diverse group of business leaders to articulate the vision and mission of this New Majority.

On Jan 11-13, at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, we will convene a nationwide exploration of how to ignite America's economic future through inclusion and partnerships among the multicultural business community. Attendees will hear from powerful business leaders who have put this significant transformation onto their agendas.

We want to be the catalyst for the New Mainstream Economy to connect, collaborate and contribute. As I think back about the opportunities I have experienced as an optimistic immigrant - serving in the US Air Force, working as an urban planner and a journalist - I know the power of being in the right place, at the right time.

We're at that moment again.

The author is founder and president of the Asian American Business Development Center in New York.

(China Daily USA 01/11/2017 page1)

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