2020 presidential candidates line up for action at NAN Convention

Rev. Al Sharpton, right, shows Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a photo of a previous lunch meeting between Sharpton and Barack Obama at Sylvia’s Restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.
Associated Press / Bebeto Matthews, Pool

New Yorkers will have an opportunity to meet, question and confer with 11 presidential candidates from April 3 to April 6 when the 26th annual National Action Network’s convention convene at the Times Square Sheraton Hotel.

NAN’s annual convention is historically one of the largest Civil Rights conferences in the country and will address the pressing political issues facing Black and brown communities in 2019. In addition, it will be the largest single gathering of presidential hopefuls before the Democratic debates this summer – with all but three declared candidates scheduled to address the convention.

Already confirmed for attendance are Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Nancy Pelosi, House Minority speaker, Stacey Abrams of Georgia, John Delaney of Maryland, Eric Holder, former attorney general, Beto O’Rourke of Texas, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and an impressive speaker’s list.

Presided by Rev. Alfred Sharpton who ran for the country’s top spot in 2004, the NAN gathering is reputed to be a must-stop event for any potential hopeful.

“I think that in ’04 the country was running away from blackness, including a lot of Blacks in the political space. And I think that in my campaign and those similar to me had to pay the price to make the country have to run toward blackness and make comfortable in their own skin,” Sharpton said.

His annual confab coincides with the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and is a free, public forum for debates and panel discussions that invites politicians, clergy, labor, celebrated citizens, students and members of the national activist organization to decide an action plan involving disfranchised and underserved citizens.

Reportedly, more than 10,000 participants congregate throughout the period in order to participate in issue-oriented debates surrounding mass incarceration, immigration, police brutality, political debates, prison reforms, housing, education, employment and other matters.

As in previous years, a mostly moderate, progressive and liberal Democratic representation will outline plans for winning the party’s nomination and ultimately the White House.

The fully stacked agenda includes a discussion with Dr. David Blight, Yale University historian, about slavery and freedom 400 years after captured Africans were brought to these shores along with conversations surrounding the “Role of progressive thought in the age of Trump.”

A dinner gala will honor significant individuals during a private event. Those named as honorees include actor Robert DeNiro, singer Mary J. Blige, public relations consultant Ken Sunshine and radio personality Tom Joyner.

That award presentation will be hosted by actor Anthony Anderson.

Slated for a live stream broadcasts with highlights reported on C-Span, this year’s meeting will again focus on gleaning proposals from those most concerned with issues surrounding Civil Rights and civil liberties.

Probably the most anticipated speaker will be Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is regarded to be the lightning rod new-comer member of the House of Representations and since her inauguration three months ago has steadily issued blistering rebuke of President Donald Trump and members of the Republican party.

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