*(New York, NY)- Today, during National Action Network’s Saturday action rally before scores of supporters and live on the radio, Rev. Al Sharpton announced that he will mark the 20th anniversary of National Action Network in Manhattan April 6-9.

A star-studded dinner honoring Muhammad Ali, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Samuel and Latanya R. Jackson and others will kick-off 3-days of workshops, seminars, and addresses that will be televised and on live radio featuring government officials, civil rights leaders and academicians.

Rev. Sharpton told the crowd:

“This will be our largest convention and I’m glad we have secured enough funds and commitments to retire much of our total debt and satisfy tax liens against National Action Network in the first quarter and work on my own, and we will announce several million dollars in commitments towards our $20 million dollar goal of a permanent House of Justice resource center and library in Harlem, New York.”

Each year NAN hosts the convention to bring together influential leaders in civil rights, government, business and media to focus on the issues most important in civil rights that year. Education, healthcare, youth violence and social justice will be the major issues addressed at the 2011 convention.  The four day event, which will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will consist of a series of plenary sessions, panels and special events. Past panelists and special guests have included President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Sean Donovan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and many others.

During the Convention NAN will host its 13th Annual Keepers of the Dream Awards on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011. The awards – given each year in April to mark the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death — honor those who have continued to advocate for the principles for which Dr. King gave his life. The Keepers of the Dream awards are given by members of the civil rights community who have committed themselves to fairness and racial harmony.

Among the honorees this year are: Muhammad Ali; Samuel and Latanya R. Jackson, The Samuel and Latanya R. Jackson Foundation; Sylvia Rhone, President, Universal Motown; Phil Griffin, President MSNBC; Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Magic Johnson Enterprises, Lee Saunders, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO; Lamell McMorris, Founder, Perennial Strategy Group, Perennial Sports and Entertainment, and Perennial Law Group; Jim Brown, NFL Hall of Famer, Amer-I-Can Foundation. There will be a keynote address by Dr. William Cosby.

Honorees are being highlighted for various initiatives that foster education, increase diversity and inspire economic development. Muhammad Ali will be honored for his legacy as a champion, leader, humanitarian, and artist. Through their Foundation, Samuel & Latanya R. Jackson have supported educational programs. Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, has been a leader in the communications business while expanding current diversity initiatives at NBC Universal intended to increase diversity in a wide range of areas including programming and employment. Earvin “Magic” Johnson has fostered economic development in communities across the country and the Magic Johnson Foundation promotes the health, social, educational and physical well-being of urban youth. Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can Foundation provides programs that improve life-skills and community services in the public school systems and through implementation of community programs. All of the honorees have been tireless in their pursuit of opportunities for social justice and civil rights.

The first annual Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala was held by National Action Network (NAN) in 1999. The event was hosted by Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, son of the late great Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Keepers of the Dream Awards were established to honor the legacy of one of the greatest men in history through the recognition of those who continued to promote the doctrines that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for, in their respective fields of work

The Keepers of the Dream Awards are the highlight of NAN’s annual convention.

Previous honorees include: Coretta Scott King , Mariah Carey, Cicely Tyson , Wyclef Jean, , James Brown, Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Denzel Washington, Sean Diddy Combs, Robin Roberts (GMA) , LeBaron Taylor,  Myrlie Evers Williams, Earl Graves, Sr., William Lucy, Wyatt Tee Walker,  Michael Baisden, State Sen. Art Torres, Lyor Cohen, Terrie Williams, Congressman Jose Serrano, Jeff Zucker, Frank Fountain, Daimler Chrysler, PepsiCo, Donald Coleman, Global Hue, Russell Simmons, L.A. Reid, Geraldo Rivera, Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone Magazine, Soledad O’Brien (CNN), Anheuser-Busch Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Company, Verizon Communications, and more.

For more info, visit: www.nationalactionnetwork.net.

Rachel Noerdlinger
Noerdlinger Media