Mayor, governor, former sec of state headed where the “Action” Is

Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during the 30th Anniversary of National Action Network at Carnegie Hall in the Manhattan borough of New York City
Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during the 30th Anniversary of National Action Network at Carnegie Hall in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., Nov. 1, 2021.
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon, File

Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul are among a long list of influential Americans headed for the Sheraton Times Square Hotel for National Action Network’s 31st annual convention from April 6 to 9.

Like devout, supporters of the Civil Rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton they believe next week there is where the action is.

It will be the first time the newly-installed first citizens of the city and state represent their vast constituency at the gathering of the largest organization in America devoted to advocacy for Black.

Along with other elected officials from the state, they will be among the nation’s most represented during three-days of eclectic presentations.

Senior Senator Charles Schumer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Congresspersons Yvette Clarke, Sean Maloney, Mondaire Jones, Carolyn Maloney, Jamaal Bowman, Tom Suozzi and the state’s former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have all committed to the dates.

Held to coincide with the anniversary of the Jan. 4. 1968 assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee, in previous years, the NAN annual has attracted some of the most-high profiled personalities.

On the organization’s 20th anniversary, Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States, addressed the celebrants.

Last year on NAN’s 30th anniversary, Vice President Kamala Harris presented her address during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic from the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

Revered as one of the leading civil rights organizations in America, NAN boasts chapters throughout the entire United States. Following leadership of protest movements supporting the families of Michael Griffith – who was killed in Howard Beach, Yusuf Hawkins – murdered in Bensonhurst and other racially disparaged Blacks in New York, Sharpton founded the advocacy organization.

Beginning in Brooklyn in 1991, the activist/preacher mobilized the grassroots movement he said would embody “the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” and “to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.”

Sharpton had been on a path to leadership since age 12 however, he gained national prominence leading protesters vowing “no justice, no peace” to systemic discrimination and intolerance to brutality.

The three-day talkfest will welcome “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.”

In addition to local representatives invited to address the national gathering a long list includes: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cong. Pete Buttigieg, Secretary, Department of Transportation, Ohio Cong. Joyce Beatty, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, Texas Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee, Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ambassador to the United Nations, South Carolina Cong. James Clyburn, Georgia Cong. Lucy McBath, Marcia Fudge, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Honorable Donald M. Remy, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Texas Cong. Al Green, New Jersey Cong. Donald Payne and Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Rapper Fat Joe will kick-off the talkfest on the first day.

And Benjamin Crump, the Civil Rights attorney who successfully represented the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and other disfranchised Blacks will moderate a panel.

Perhaps one of the most reflective plenary sessions will introduce Floyd’s brother Philonise and Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd memorial Foundation, Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, Karen Wills, mother of Amir Locke and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner who was choked to death by over-zealous members of the NYPD in Staten Island.

Panel discussion will include topical sessions focusing on immigration, the state of criminal justice, broadband access, the role of Black intellectuals, social justice, media, police reform, entertaining race, health and wellness in the wake of Covid and politics and voter suppression.

Two book signings will introduce Professor Michael Eric Dyson’s “Entertaining Race” and Sharpton’s “Righteous Troublemakers.”

The activist had been talking up his Civil Rights tome on his MSNBC “PoliticsNation” weekend cable show since he released “Rise Up” in 2020.

Prior to its publication he said “the untold stories” compiled in the latest are dedicated to ordinary people and unsung heroes who historically loyally supported the Civil Rights Movement.

A gospel revival concert and youth day awards should round-out the annual April confab which just might be ‘‘where the action is.”

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