The assembly will feature discussions from Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Ben & Jerry's CEO Matthew McCarthy

By Joelle Goldstein
July 27, 2020 11:35 AM
Advertisement

Karamo Brown is joining forces with Verizon to moderate its first-ever Citizen Verizon Assembly.

On Tuesday, the Queer Eye star, 39, is set to moderate the inaugural panel, which will focus on creating responsible and fair business practices and cultivating an inclusive future in education so that everyone can prosper in the workforce.

The hour-long virtual event will feature discussions from several leaders and activists, including Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy, among others.

"I’m thrilled to moderate a panel on building an inclusive future with so many diverse perspectives," Brown tells PEOPLE. "COVID-19 has brought to the surface how much of a role inclusion plays in our everyday lives. For example, we absolutely need to make sure every child has access to the internet and devices."

"It’s clear that businesses and nonprofits need to step up and do these things if all young people are going to get a fair shot," he continues. "Our young people ended their last school year and are starting a new one under devastating circumstances, and they need our support now."

Karamo Brown
| Credit: Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Tuesday's event is the first of many Citizen Verizon Assemblies expected to be held that will emphasize the importance of corporate responsibility in helping to drive social, economic and environmental advancement.

Shahidi, 20, will be participating in the discussion moderated by Brown about building a future that’s inclusive. The actress will be joined by Geoff Canada, an educator and activist pioneering school reform, and Meredith Walker, the co-founder and executive director of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

A CEO panel focused on businesses taking responsibility for pressing social issues will also take place and feature McCarthy, 51, as well as Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, Bombas CEO and co-founder David Heath, Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman, and HP CEO Enrique Lores.

Yang, 45 — who founded the nonprofit organization, Humanity Forward — will deliver closing remarks.

Karamo Brown

Speaking to PEOPLE, Brown says agreeing to moderate the assembly was a no-brainer for him, especially as a gay, Black man in America and father of two sons — Jason, 23, and Chris, 20.

"As a father to two young boys, I’m a huge proponent for giving kids the kind of intergenerational support I received, and I know I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for what my activist and humanitarian grandparents and parents poured into me," he says. "Whitney [Houston] said it best: Children are our future, and we’ve got to pay attention to that."

RELATED VIDEO: Karamo Brown on How Social Activist Bayard Rustin Inspired Him to Live His Truth

"That means making sure they have the resources they need to get a good education, and that also means putting their voices at the forefront of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter," he continues. "One of the best things you can do for someone is to instill in them that they have the power to create real change for themselves, their communities and their families — and of course, for the world."

"But it can’t just be people: Corporations and nonprofits, like those participating in the Citizen Verizon Assembly, need to step up to make sure everyone is putting their money where their mouth is and supporting the kids who need our help the most," he adds.

Citizen Verizon Assembly is set to air live on July 28 at 5 p.m. EST on Yahoo Finance, Verizon's Twitter, Yahoo Home, Yahoo Finance FiOS channel 604, Yahoo Finance Roku Channel, and Yahoo Finance SamsungTV+ channel.