The Rev. Al Sharpton’s 2011 National Action Network convention begins today in New York, with President Barack Obama coming tonight and half of his cabinet in tow.
It’s a watershed year for Obama as he begins his 2012 reelection bid, and for Sharpton as his convention assumes an ever more prominent role on the national political stage.
It’s Sharpton’s moment. Here are the top five things to look for at this week’s convention:
5) Michael Bloomberg — Thursday —The New York mayor and possible future presidential candidate talks education reform at Sharpton’s panel, “Do Our Children Matter?”
4) Bill Cosby, Rave or Rant? — Wednesday — America’s favorite curmudgeonly comedian takes the stage at the Obama dinner on Wednesday night for a keynote speech. Will Cosby play it light or will he go in for another round of the culture wars?
3) The Bell Family — Friday — The family of Sean Bell, who died in a fusillade of police bullets in 2006, will make what may be an emotional appearance at Terrie Williams panel on urban violence.
2) Sharpton vs. Hannity, The Great Debate or Debacle? – Thursday – Al Sharpton invited buddy Bill O’Reilly to last year’s convention. This year he’s debating Hannity in front of an audience. Is this conversation with the arguably pro-racist Hannity merely spectacle or will there be a some meeting of the minds? (We’re not betting on the latter.)
1) Appearance by President Barack Obama – Wednesday night – Obama is, for all intents and purposes, kicking off his reelection bid in Sharpton’s house; metaphorically asking for Black support first before his long campaign for the American middle. With a government shutdown looming, will Obama simply give soundbites on current events for major media, or will he seriously address the concerns of the Black electorate that his first term has benefitted bankers more than it has Black Americans.
Keep us bookmarked for continuous coverage of Sharpton’s 2011 NAN Convention!