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The National Action Network (NAN) held its 11th Annual National Convention April 1st through 4th at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York, NY. Rev. Al Sharpton, who serves as President of NAN, said that the event was the largest civil rights convention since the election of Barack Obama.
Hundreds of leaders from the world of business, civil rights, politics, labor, medicine and entertainment attended the convention. Discussions at the convention centered on issues affecting the American people during the Obama era.
The convention included guests such as; Vice President Joe Binden, United State Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Judge Greg Mathis, Star Jones, Matt Lauer, D.L. Hughley and Robin Roberts.
There where daily panel discussions on healthcare, religion, criminal justice, education and other issues during the convention. One of the most well attended panel discussions was, "ACT! Against AIDS Leadership Initiative" hosted by NAN's National Director of Health and Wellness, Tony R. Wafford. Panelist included Deborah Fraser-Howze, OraSure Technology, C. Virginia Fields, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Eli Dancy, STFree, Robert Bailey, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), M. Monica Sweeney, MD, Craig Brandman, MD of Medilinq, Inc. and Rev. Marcia Dyson.
NAN, in partnership with the CDC, has launched a five-year "ACT! Against AIDS Leadership Initiative" campaign. This campaign is designed to educate and empower the African American community with knowledge in the area of prevention of HIV/AIDS. This initiative will be the main focus of health education in all of NAN's 48 chapters across the United States.
Other events during the convention included the Keepers of the Dream Awards Dinner, the Rev. Dr. William A. Jones Memorial Luncheon and the Education Equality Project (EEP) Day. Activities highlighted educational issues, charter schools and public school funding.
At the luncheon on EEP Day, there was a conversation with New York City Public Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and mayors from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, CA
All week, Rev. Sharpton broadcasted his radio show, "Keeping it Real with Al Sharpton", live from the convention.
There was also something for the youths. The Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) took place on Saturday with discussions about self-image designing, sexual issues and the intergenerational disconnect. YES included conversations with Tamika Mallory, National Director of Decency Initiative, Rev. Al Sharpton's daughter, Dominque Sharpton, the National Director of Membership, Kim Cooper of Hip Hop 4 Life and Chris People, Regional VP of NAN.
The National Action Network's National Convention wrapped up on Saturday with a discussion about depression by Terrie Williams, Author of the book, Black Pain: It Jus Looks Like We're Not Hurting.