The Trump administration continues to work overtime to undermine the civil rights achievements of the past five decades. Activists, elected officials and civil right leaders will gather in New York City for the annual National Action Network (NAN) convention to address the growing crisis.
NAN’s 2018 three-day convention opens on Wednesday. This year, it will focus on the current state of the civil rights movement since the assassination 50 years ago of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Since the 2017 NAN convention, President Donald Trump hit new lows. He defended racist thugs in Charlottesville. And on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the president sparked international outrage over this comments about Haiti and African nations, calling them “shi_hole” countries, while noting his preference for Norwegian immigrants to the United States.
The policies of this racist president signal the urgency for the 2018 convention. Trump’s administration has repealed several of President Barack Obama’s criminal justice reform policies that address racial bias.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for example, has taken steps to restart the racially biased war on drugs that led to the mass incarceration of Black men. Meanwhile, Trump’s housing secretary, Ben Carson, has been on a mission to prevent low-income people from getting fair housing.
To discuss many of those issues, NAN has called upon several high-profile figures to speak at this year’s event. They include Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who founded NAN in 1991, will moderate a session titled “What is the State of the Union Under Trump,” on day one of the convention. Other topics range from dealing with the digital divide to addressing mental health in the Black community. NAN has a schedule of events posted to its website.
Registration to the convention is free and open to the public. There will be a livestream for those unable to attend.