Making America As Good As Its Promise

Image Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union (SOBU), one of the most anticipated annual events for millions of African Americans during the last decade, will return to Los Angeles—the site of the first symposium—in celebration of its 10th anniversary on February 28, 2009, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Under the theme, “Making America As Good As Its Promise,” the symposium will capture the essence of what it has meant for African Americans to be enlightened, encouraged, and empowered by these solution-driven conversations over the years.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required online at Smiley and attorney Raymond Brown will moderate the discussion that will be broadcast live to millions of viewers on C-SPAN.

The 2009 symposium will feature two panel discussions from 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Pacific Time. In addition, a series of conversations scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27, geared toward issues important to high school and college students will be held at the University of Southern California (USC) and selected high schools in Los Angeles.

For the 2009 symposium, Tavis Smiley Presents has woven the past and present by inviting panelists from the original symposium which was held on the campus of USC. Those panelists include Danny Glover, Nikki Giovanni, Na′im Akbar, Michael Eric Dyson, Lani Guinier, Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Danny Bakewell, Sr., Jawanza Kunjufu, Les Brown, Charles Ogletree, Randall Robinson, Al Sharpton, Iyanla Vanzant, Julianne Malveaux, Maxine Waters, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Cornel West.

Other participants in this year’s forum include—Arlene Holt Baker, Karen Bass, Peter Harvey, Van Jones, Erica Williams, Emilie Townes, and Marc Morial.