The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents more than 200 print and digital newspapers across the United States, is currently holding its annual conference (June 20-June 24) at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Prince George’s County, just outside D.C.
The conference kicked-off on Tuesday with a National Black Parents Town Hall Meeting on Educational Excellence featuring radio personality and community activist DJ EZ Street; Hilary Shelton, the director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau; Dr. Marietta English, the president of the National Alliance of Black School Educators; and Lynn Jennings of Education Trust.
On Wednesday night, the publishers were welcomed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker at a lavish reception hosted by NNPA Chair Denise Rolark Barnes, Publisher of the Washington Informer, in the Gaylord’s Sunset Room.
Earlier on Wednesday P.G. County Executive Baker had announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2018 Maryland governor’s race.
Martin Luther King III, son of historic civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fourth president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), will be presented with the NNPA 2017 Lifetime Legacy Award during a dinner on Thursday night.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the group was especially pleased to present the 2017 Lifetime Legacy Award to the oldest son of Dr. Martin and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, who serves as an ambassador of his parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change.
Chavis also expressed thanks for the support of the NNPA’s partners, sponsors and advertisers, whom he described as “critically important.” NNPA partners include: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Reynolds America Incorporated, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sponsors of the conference include Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Comcast, AT&T, Facebook, Macy’s, Koch Industries, New York Life, Northrop Grumman, Coca Cola, AARP, Goldman Sacs, and Prince George’s County.
Noting that this year’s conference is “a celebration of the Black Press,” Rolark Barnes said, “For 190 years, since the first Black newspaper was published on March 16, 1827, Black newspaper publishers have been actively engaged in ending slavery and Jim Crow, fighting against segregation and for civil rights, and galvanizing the electorate that voted for the nation’s first Black president. Our collective voices, with well over 200 Black-owned media companies across the U.S. and in the Caribbean, are strong, defiant and determined to be heard.”
Rolark Barnes added: “Despite our struggles, we remain relevant and strong within our communities. We welcome those to this conference who support our work, value our impact and share our belief in an inclusive and diverse country.”