New York, NY — National Action Network (NAN), founded by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, will convene its annual national convention from April 26-29 at the Sheraton Times Square (811 Seventh Avenue and 52nd Street). The convention is free and open to the public but registration is required and isolated events are ticketed.
NAN’s convention will be held in President Donald Trump’s home town, featuring high profile plenary sessions and panel discussions around crucial issues, such as voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigration, health care, education, corporate responsibility, economic equity and more. Each day of the NAN convention there will be a hackathon and technology competition, and each evening there will be revivals featuring leading national preachers.
On the first day of the convention – Wednesday, April 26 – Rev. 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 follow with a Plenary Address.
Other opening day highlights include panel discussions and remarks from prominent African-American leaders. There will be panel on organizing in the Trump era with pollster Cornell Becher, NOW President Terry O’Neill, Host of MSNBC's AM Joy, Joy-Ann Reid, and others. Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump will moderate a panel discussion about accountability in policing with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Judy Scott, the mother of Walter Scott; Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell; and Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo.
First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks during a panel discussion on mental health in the Black community. Opening day will close out with the annual Keepers of the Dream Awards, which be hosted by Actor Samuel L. Jackson and will honor Harry Belafonte, Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, the pastor who organized Moral Mondays, Terry O’Neill the President of the National Organization of Women (NOW), and other national leaders.
The awards, given each year in April to mark the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, honor those who have continued to advocate the principles for which Dr. King gave his life. Former President Barack Obama delivered the keynote remarks at the Keepers of the Dream Awards in 2011.
On the second day – Thursday, April 27 – National Action Network will convene high profile civil rights leaders, activists, elected officials, and media for discussions including a panel on the legacy of Barack Obama moderated by CNN contributor Angela Rye followed by a Plenary Address by Newark, NJ, Mayor Ras J. Baraka. There will be a discussion on the future of progressive inter-sectionalism with author and advocate Hil Harper, Shaun King from the New York Daily News and more, followed by a discussion about transparency in the media.
The media panel will include: Suzanna Andrews, contributing editor of Vanity Fair Magazine; Arthur Browne, Editor-in Chief- of The New York Daily News; Roland Martin, Managing Editor at NewsOne Now and other journalists.
Day two highlights also include the women’s empowerment and networking lunch honoring celebrity stylist June Ambrose and recording artist MC Lyte among others, and a discussion about the future of Black Intellectuals with Georgetown University professor and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, William Jelani Cobb from Columbia University, Dr. Mary Frances Berry from University of Pennsylvania, and other scholars.
Day two will also include a discussion about criminal justice in America with Jonathan Lippman, Former Chief Judge and Chair of the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
The third day of NAN’s annual national convention, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver a Plenary Address in the morning followed by a panel on the state of Labor Unions in the era of Trump. This will be followed by 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 will feature Darcel Clark, Bronx NY District Attorney, Spike Lee, Film Director, Producer, Writer, and Actor, and Cyrus Vance, District Attorney of New York County, among others.
Day three also includes panels on education, pension diversity funds, corporate diversity and the annual Rev. Dr. William A. Jones Memorial Ministers luncheon which will honor Bishop Marvin Sapp, Recording Artist and member of the NAN Board of Directors, along with other prominent national clergy.
On the closing day of NAN’s annual national convention there will be a special televised forum entitled “Measuring the Movement” hosted by Rev. Al 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.
The current schedule is available here: http://nationalactionnetwork.net/convention-2017/#schedule