Major Influencers Attend Rev. Al Sharpton’s & National Action Network’s (Nan) Annual National Convention Including Thousands of Delegates & National Leaders From Across the Country
NEW YORK (April 21, 2018) —
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network convened their annual national convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel from April 18-21. The convention, the largest of its kind in the country, welcomed civil rights leaders and allies from around the country as the civil rights community refocused efforts to resist a hostile presidential administration in the upcoming midterm elections.
The NAN convention brought together influential national leaders from the civil rights movement, government, labor, religion, business, media, the Black church and the activist community – to reflect on King’s legacy and impact while celebrating today’s civil rights leaders and examining the path forward. According to Rev. Al Sharpton, “It was NAN’s biggest convention yet, and there is none other than Donald Trump to thank for record registration numbers.”
NAN’s convention was highlighted by leaders discussing policy on social justice issues including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former U.S. Attorney GeneralEric Holder, Jr., Esq., DNC Chairman Thomas Perez, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, The Honorable Ras Baraka, Mayor, Newark, NJ, Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME),The Honorable Alicia Reece, Ohio House of Representatives,The Honorable Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City; The Honorable Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senate, Vermont; The Honorable Cory Booker, U.S. The Honorable, New Jersey; The Honorable Kristen Gillibrand, U.S. Senate, New York, The Honorable Kamala Harris, U.S. Senate, CA
A highlight of NAN’s Convention opening day was the annual “Keepers of the Dream Awards.” The awards, given each year to mark the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, honor those who have continued to advocate for the principles that Dr. King gave his life for. This year’s list of honorees featured leading names in entertainment, civil rights and social justice and business, including Common, the first rapper to win an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award, MSNBC Host Joy-Ann Reid,Rev. A.R. Bernard, Founder of the Christian Cultural Center, Richelieu Dennis, owner of Essence and Founder & CEO OF Sundial Brands, Human Rights Activist and Author Kerry Kennedy and Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Martin Luther King, III, the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardsonpresented the awards along with Rev. Al Sharpton.
On day two of the convention NAN’s annual media panel featured Errol Lewis, Host & Political Anchor, Road to City Hall, Spectrum News NY1 and Director, Urban Reporting, City University of New York, Graduate School of Journalism, Chauncey Alcorn, reporter, MIC, Charles Blow, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, Karen Hunter, The Karen Hunter Show, Sirius XM, Ari Melber, Host, The Beat with Ari Melber, MSNBC; Chris Matthews, Host, Hardball, MSNBC, Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief, The Root, Cheryl Wills, Host, In Focus with Cheryl Wills on NY1.
For the first time NAN held the Daughters of the Movement panel featuring Dominique Sharpton Bright, Gina Belafonte, Daughter of Harry Belafonte, Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director, FPWA, Board Member, National Action Network and daughter of Willam Augustus Jones, Dr. Hasna Muhammad, Daughter of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Ilyasah Shabazz, Daughter of Malcolm X, Ashley Sharpton, Daughter of Rev. Al Sharpton, Keisha Sutton James, Vice President, ICBC Broadcast Holdings and granddaughter of Percy Sutton.
On Thursday, April 19th National Action Network hosted the Women’s Empowerment and Networking luncheon, co-chaired byMichelle Ebanks, President of Essence Communications, Inc. and Tanya Lombard, Head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances for AT&T. Designed to empower women who effect positive civic change in their communities, the luncheon was hosted by Angela T. Rye, Principal and CEO, Impact Strategies and Political Commentator, CNN. This year’s honorees spanned the technology, media, and political sectors, but are rooted in and centered around activism. The honorees were chosen for their commitment to justice and equity which is displayed in both their professional and personal endeavors. Honorees included: BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Founder and Executive Director, Beverly Bonds, Google’s Global Head of Women & African American Outreach, Valeisha-Butterfield Jones, CBS correspondent, Michelle Miller, AT&T’s Director of Federal Public Affairs, Yvette Pugh, CNN correspondent, Symone Sanders, host of BEVELATIONS, SiriusXM and Page Six TV Contributor, Bevy Smith, and Revolt’s SVP, Affiliate & Consumer Marketing, Angela Turner.
The annual Reverend Dr. William A. Jones Memorial Luncheon on Thursday, April 19th was highlighted by The Honorable Cory Booker, U.S. The Honorable, New Jersey, The Honorable Kristen Gillibrand, U.S. Senate, New York, The Honorable Al Green, Representative, U.S. House of Representatives, (TX–09), The Honorable Shelia Jackson Lee, U.S. House of Representatives, (TX–18) and The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Democratic House Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, (CA–12). Honorees included Reverend Jesse Jackson, Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Reverend C. T. Vivian, Founder, C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute Xernona Clayton, Founder, President and CEO, Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and Creator, Executive Producer, Trumpet Awards.
Measuring the Movement, the annual event that concluding the NAN conference featured Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civil Participation, Kristen Clarke, President & CEO, Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under the Law, Vanita Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Janice Mathis, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
NAN’s final day conversation with Rev. Al Sharpton and Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter and Founder of Dignity and Power and author of “When They Call You a Terrorist.” The event was moderated by Mary Pat Hector, National Youth Director, National Action Network.