The Black Money Forum is hosting the first-ever event on June 19

NEW YORK – Thousands of New Yorkers attended a forum on black money, the first of its kind, at the lavish Kings Theater in Flatbush on Sunday. Organizers say the aim is to empower black and brown people to take control of their finances and create their wealth.

The event was hosted, in part, by Brooklyn Bank, a nonprofit organization that aims to foster financial independence for communities of color. Jude Bernard, who founded the organization, says they do it all the time on a much smaller scale, but decided Juneteenth was their chance to expand.

“In the same way that the slave did not know he was free, there are many people in this country who do not know that they are financially free and they do not know that they have the possibility of filling the wealth gap,” he told CBS2’s Hannah Kliger.

The forum was co-sponsored by Stash, a New York-based personal finance company. Erick Smith, senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion, explains that their goal was to get this community to start investing.

“Growing up, okay, you never really had that education in the schools, and just having that here in the heart of Brooklyn and on a day like today, it warms my heart” , did he declare.

According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 people, conducted by Stash, black Americans had a harder time managing and growing their wealth than other groups. Organizers say Sunday’s forum aims to tackle that very disparity.

“Change your relationship with money. Instead of working hard for money, be sure to learn that the right relationship is money working hard for you,” said Ash Cash, host of a financial podcast called “Inside the Vault”.

He was among the speakers at the event, 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 mind, helps you see what’s possible, you see what’s out there, what’s better, what’s more,” said Brandon Jackson of ‘Ozone Park.

“It’s just a beautiful setting,” added Tevin Facey. “The number of people who are here, and especially people of color, trying to learn the information.”

Brooklyn Bank is also hosting additional networking events, tax clinics and giveaways.

Got a story idea or Brooklyn tip? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

Melvin B. Baillie