With less than a month before the Nov. 3 presidential election, 10 publishers of the country’s leading Black newspapers will join forces for a live streamed conversation regarding racial disparities and other issues aligned with voting rights in 2020.
The “Voting With a Purpose” livestream takes place at 3 p.m. PST Tuesday, October 20, Word in Black, the news collaborative behind the event, announced this week. CLICK HERE TO TUNE IN.
Chris Bennett, publisher of Seattle Medium, and Dr. Frances Toni Draper, CEO/publisher of the AFRO American newspapers, will serve as hosts. Elinor Tatum, publisher and editor-in-chief of the New York Amsterdam News, and Larry Lee, publisher of The Sacramento OBSERVER, will serve as moderators.
“We can’t wait for the world to meet Word in Black on Oct. 20,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer, Local Media Association. “This group represents 10 of our nation’s leading Black publishers who are taking a major step forward to be the national voice of solutions for racial inequities in America. We are thrilled to serve as managers of this collaborative and financial sponsor of this event. We invite everyone to join us for this important discussion.”
“This moment requires greatness from our publications as the disparities and injustices are life-and-death,” Lee said. “Black lives have always mattered to us, and our publications matter to Blacks. We are excited about addressing this very important issue with some great thought leaders.”
The renowned panel of experts will include:
● Bakari Sellers, Attorney for Strom Law Firm and CNN political commentator. Sellers made history in the 2006 South Carolina state legislature as the youngest African American elected official in the nation, at the age of 22. His political career did not stop there, in 2014 he was the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor in the state of South Carolina. Bakari has also worked for United States Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
His accomplishments do not go unnoticed within the Democratic Party. In 2008 he served on President Obama’s South Carolina steering committee. His ability to “reach across the aisle to get things done” has led to numerous achievements including being named TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans in 2015, and HBCU Top 30 Under 30 in July 2014.
● Susan Smith Richardson, CEO, Center for Public Integrity. Ms. Richardson is a longtime journalist, news editor and publisher. She has worked for major city newspapers including the Chicago Tribune. She was managing editor of the Texas Observer and later was editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, which investigates race, poverty and income inequality.
● Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO, National Newspaper Publishers Association. Dr. Chavis began his career in 1963, as a statewide youth coordinator in NC for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1970, Chavis was appointed Southern Regional Program Director of the 1.7 million-member United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (UCC-CRJ) and by 1985 was named the Executive Director and CEO of the UCC-CRJ. In 1988, Dr. Chavis was elected Vice President of the National Council of Churches of the USA. In 1993 and 1994 Dr. Chavis served as the Executive Director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and remains an active supporter of the NAACP. In 1995, Dr. Chavis was the National Director and organizer of the Million Man March.
● Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Clarke leads one of the country’s most important national civil rights organizations in the pursuit of equal justice for all. Under her leadership, the organization has been at the forefront of some of the nation’s biggest racial justice problems today. The Lawyers’ Committee seeks to promote fair housing and community development, economic justice, voting rights, equal educational opportunity, criminal justice, judicial diversity and more.
● Wes Moore, CEO, Robin Hood Foundation. Before becoming CEO at Robin Hood, Moore was the founder and CEO at BridgeEdU, an innovative tech platform addressing the college completion and job placement crisis. BridgeEdU reinvents freshman year for underserved students. Wes remains chairman of the board of directors at BridgeEDU. He has also worked in finance as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York. He is a bestselling author, a combat veteran, and a social entrepreneur.
● Leigh M. Chapman, director, Voting Rights Program. Ms. Chapman oversees projects that advocate voting protections for marginalized people. Previously, Ms. Chapman was Senior Policy Advisor at Let America Vote, where she advised the organization on election law and policy issues at the state and federal levels.
● Nolan Williams Jr., American composer, producer, music director, innovator, curator and musicologist. Williams is also chief music editor of the landmark African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA Publications, 2001), with sales approaching 500,000 books sold worldwide; associate editor of Total Praise, the 2012 hymnal published for the eight-million-member National Baptist Convention, USA; and third-most contributing arranger for Lead Me, Guide Me – Second Edition (2012), the African American Catholic hymnal. He has lectured before the American Academy of Religion; for the Festival Musicá e Filosofia in Naples, Italy; at Yale and Georgetown Universities; and, as a visiting professor at Dartmouth College (2012 spring term) and Howard University (1991-1992).