The theme for this year’s Annual Meeting was ‘The Invisible Class,’ which is also the focus of my new, upcoming book entitled THE MEMO (Fall, 2017). The Invisible Class are not a focus on any one race, but rather the majority of the people in our society, our nation, and our world, who simply do not feel ‘seen.’ And people who do not feel seen, by power, influence, opportunity — or even by their government, become dangerous when feelings of being ‘unseen’ turn to feelings of resentment, depression and lack of hope.’ The opposite is also true. Those who arrive on the shores of opportunity with little, often are the same ones who create the most value to the the same societies and communities connected to those receptive shores.
The odd fact remains that without members of this same Invisible Class seeing an aspirational place for themselves, ‘rising up,’ and taking their seats within the Opportunity Class, societies literally do not grow and prosper. Without this group experiencing widespread and sustainable opportunities for uplift, ountries cannot and do not stabilize. Every nation has prospered as a result of ‘the least of these’ rising up and becoming part of what Jim Clifton (CEO, Gallup) and I refer to as the new BUILDERS Class.
It is fitting that it was held in the year of our 25th anniversary for Operation HOPE, which will be celebrated on May 5th, 2017. Here I sit in conversation on the main stage with a good friend and a great leader, Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard. Operation HOPE is proud to be a partner, doing work that is having impact on the ground with MasterCard.
Ajay was a featured speaker amongst some 300 speakers and session leaders, and 3500 Delegates representing 35 countries around the world. The Delegates that traveled the farthest to be with us came from Fiji and Singapore.
Operation HOPE was founded in the backdrop of the Rodney King Riots of 1992 in South Los Angeles, California. Today, Operation HOPE is the largest nonprofit financial services network in North America, with operations on the ground from South Africa to Saudi Arabia — and an impact in almost 80 countries globally.
A special thank you to MSNBC, Telemundo and the Roland Martin Show for broadcasting and webcasting important parts of the Annual Meeting to their constituents.
It’s time for a new movement. It’s time, for a Silver Rights Movement for all.
John Hope Bryant