NAN to host first major gathering of Blacks since Trump era



The National Action Network (NAN), led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, will convene its annual national convention from April 26-29, describing it as “the first major gathering of African-Americans in the Donald Trump era in his hometown of New York.”

The convention will be held at Sheraton Times Square, 811 7th Ave., New York. It is free and open to the public. Registration is required and isolated events are ticketed.

Speech by Holder
On the first day of the convention (Wednesday, April 26), Sharpton and NAN leadership will kick off the events with a ribbon cutting ceremony with elected officials and community activists.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will give the convention’s opening address, focusing on gerrymandering and voting rights. Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, will give the first plenary speech.

Other opening day highlights include a panel on the 2016 election and organizing with pollster Cornell Becher, NOW President Terry O’Neill, host of MSNBC’s “AM Joy’’ with Joy-Ann Reid, and others.

Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump will moderate a panel discussion about accountability in policing with Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Judy Scott, mother of Walter Scott; Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell; and Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo.

Honor for Belafonte
Opening day will close out with the annual Keepers of the Dream Awards, hosted by actor Samuel L. Jackson and will honor Harry Belafonte, the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, pastor who organized Moral Mondays, Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization of Women (NOW), and other national leaders.

On the second day, April 27, National Action Network will convene high profile community leaders, activists, elected officials and media for discussions, including a panel on the legacy of President Obama moderated by CNN contributor Angela Rye with former Obama officials.

Black intellectuals discussion
A discussion about the future of Black intellectuals will follow with panel members: Georgetown University professor and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Dr. Jelani Cobb from Columbia University, Dr. Mary Frances Berry from University of Pennsylvania, and other scholars.

The women’s empowerment and networking lunch will honor April Reign, creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, and recording artist MC Lyte. The luncheon will be hosted by Mara Schiavocampo, ABC News correspondent.

Day 2 also will feature a discussion about transparency in the media, including Suzanna Andrews, contributing editor of Vanity Fair Magazine; Arthur Browne, editor-in-chief for the New York Daily News; Roland Martin, managing editor at NewsOne Now; Bill Ritter, co-anchor of Eyewitness News on WABC; Cheryl Willis, reporter with NY1 TV; Charles Ellison, contributing editor at The Root; and Larry Young, Radio Host of WOLB 1010 AM in Baltimore, among others.

Discussion on crime
The third day of the convention will include a panel discussion on dealing with gun crime in the community, moderated by Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast regional director of the National Action Network. The panel features Darcel Clark, Bronx New York district attorney; Spike Lee, film director, producer, writer, and actor; and Cyrus Vance, District Attorney of New York County.

‘Measuring the Movement’
On the closing day of NAN’s annual national convention there will be a special televised forum titled “Measuring the Movement” hosted by Sharpton, featuring leaders from the legacy civil rights organizations and national elected officials.

The day will feature various discussions for young people including activism in a social media era and a closing fashion show.

For more on the convention, visit



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