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Additional reporting by Karla Ovalle and Sheree Smith

New York — Day 1 of the National Action Network’s 20th Anniversary Celebration brought together a mix of personalities that provided not just inspiration, but laughs throughout.

Here are some of the standout quotes:

Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network:

“Please turn off your cell phones because the Lord isn’t going to call you, he will call me and i’ll let you know.”

“I know some people brought their cheerleading squads, but you don’t have to stand up and cheer every time they speak.”

“If you’re so passionate that you can’t hold it, please raise your hand and talk because no one paid their money to come and see you have a fit,” said Sharpton to laughter. “I can see when a fit is coming…I can see it in your face,” said a smiling Sharpton.

Pastor David Jefferson Sr. of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark NJ:

“We are at a defining moment and every time we’ve had one, it’s because God has helped to set that stage for appropriate leadership. We have a confidence crisis in our country. We have lost all our confidence in our political representatives. People keep talking about issues by the water cooler, but not bringing them to the surface; to the media level where an impact can be made. We can no longer have these issues in the closet.”

“We need to help our young people because they’ve lost the worth of education system because they don’t see any jobs at the end of the tunnel when everyone else is unemployed.”

Roberto Ramirez, Founding Partner of MirRam Group:

“We need to address the wealth disparities in this country. If we can address the deficit and bailing out Wall Street, we can help our poor people in this country. We need to be just as prepared to help Blacks and Latinos whose houses are being foreclosed. It is impossible that the only job extension in this country can be unemployment extension.”

“We live in the richest city in the country; we have the richest mayor in the world; we have the largest bonuses given to Wall Street, but nine congressional districts have close to 20 percent of the people without enough money to feed themselves. We need to be just as ready to help our poor people here than we are to help people outside of our country.”

Lee A. Saunders, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME:

“No applause, I don’t want you guys getting kicked out. You heard what Al said about clapping earlier.”

Kirsten John Foy, Director of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs for Office of NYC Public Advocate:

“The election of Pres. Obama ripped a band-aid off, but it also left a scab which is now bleeding. They are using this president as a tool to organize so they can change this country forever.”

George Gresham, President 1199 SEIU:

“We have to strengthen President Obama‘s voice, but by strengthening our voice so he can take action for his base.”

“What gave me hope as a Black man was that I grew up in a segregated state and then saw my state vote for him in a primary (South Carolina).”

“Everyone knows that we wouldn’t have celebrated if Clarence Thomas was elected. It wasn’t because it was a Black man; It was the right black man. One that showed he cared about our people.”

“They aren’t attacking President Obama, they are trying to tear all of us down because he’s a symbol for working people.”

Charles Blow, NYTimes Columnist:

“Who will feel secure in this society? We want the rich and the businesses to feel secure so they will spend money.”

“The whole Tea Party movement is about fear. They’re about making poor people feel insecure.”

David Axelrod, Political Consultant:

“The future isn’t a gift, it is an achievement.”

“I wonder what it would be like to be here when things were good.”

Eric Holder, US Attorney General:

“We have not reached the promised land that Dr. King spoke of, or realized his dream.”

RELATED: President Obama To Speak At Sharpton Convention Today

Keep us bookmarked for continuous coverage of Sharpton’s 2011 NAN Convention!

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