Sharpton Brings NAN Convention to the District

WI Staff | 4/11/2012, 3:10 p.m.

14th Annual Event Features National Leadership

With a backdrop that includes the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the suppression of voting rights, Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN), the organization he founded, have arrived in the District this week to tackle these issues and more at NAN's 14th annual national convention, April 11-14, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The event is featuring a who's who in politics, civil rights, education, business, corporate America and the church. The four-day event honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and consists of a series of plenary sessions, panels and special events. Featured speakers and special guests include: the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Harvard University Professor Dr. Charles Ogletree, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, NBC's Meet the Press Moderator David Gregory, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Each year NAN hosts the national convention to bring together influential leaders in civil rights, government, business, the media and the church to focus on the issues most important in civil rights that year--voting rights, education, jobs, health care, youth violence and social justice.

The convention will close with a televised symposium taking place at Howard University entitled: "Measuring the Movement: Black Leadership's 12-Month Action Plan" featuring black leaders of constituencies across the country.

For the third year, leaders will assess where we are and what they and their respective organizations will pledge to do over a 12-month time-frame to further critical issues impacting people of color including, but not limited to, education reform, unemployment, health care and more. The collective will discuss the real problems and how we will not only hold the President and Administration of the United States accountable, but how we will hold ourselves accountable and tangibly measure our movement over a 12-month period to enact change.

Following the Washington, D.C. conference, NAN will host its 14th Annual Keepers of the Dream Awards on Wednesday, April 18th, in New York City. 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 for King's principles. The Keepers of the Dream awards are given by members of the civil rights community who have committed themselves to fairness and racial harmony. Among the honorees this year are: Denzel & Pauletta Washington; Karla Ballard, chief of Strategic Development, Media and National Partnerships One Economy; Richard Parsons, chairman of Citigroup and the former chairman and CEO of Time Warner; and Doug Morris CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. There will be special remarks by Bill Cosby.

Last year, NAN's 20th Anniversary Convention was highlighted by a keynote address by President Barack Obama. In years before, NAN has featured Vice President Joseph Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.