Soledad O’Brien brings 'real conversation'

For Immediate Release: Jan. 29, 2015

BLOOMSBURG — “Black in America,” one of CNN’s most critically acclaimed documentary series, forms the foundation of a discussion on race and police brutality at Bloomsburg University’s Haas Center for the Arts, Mitrani Hall, Thursday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. Led by journalist Soledad O’Brien, Black in America 2015 will stop at eight college campuses during February. BU’s program is open to the public free of charge.

At its core, the “Black in America” documentary series is a conversation − one about acknowledging the stereotypes, challenges and divisions facing the black community and how to overcome them. On the Black in America Tour 2015, O’Brien gathers academics, experts, students and community members of many races and politics to discuss their personal stories of how policing impacts their lives. Speaking alongside O’Brien on the panel will be Benjamin Jealous, past president of the NAACP, and Julianne Maleaux, author, commentator and labor economist.

“Black in America is about Americans talking about the uncomfortable issue of race, about opening the floor to new perspectives, problems and the powerful experiences of regular people,” O’Brien said. “This is a forum for the conversation America is ready to have – why do so many black Americans fear the very people that are supposed to protect them?”

An award-winning journalist, documentarian and television personality, O’Brien extended the “Black in America” series to “Latino in America” and “Gay in America: Gary and Tony Have a Baby.” The 2015 tour gives audiences an inside look at the latest installment of O’Brien’s Black in America documentary series, “Black & Blue.”

Earlier in her career, O’Brien appeared on “The Today Show” and “Nightly News” and co-anchored “Weekend Today.” In 2011 she won an Emmy award for “Crisis in Haiti,” a story on Haitian orphanages. In 2013 she won two more Emmy awards for reporting on “Kids and Race” and her coverage of the 2012 presidential election. O’Brien received two George Foster Peabody awards and an Alfred I. DuPont award for excellence in journalism.

Jealous served as the youngest president and CEO of the NAACP. Prior to leading the civil rights organization, he spent 15 years as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi’s Jackson Advocate newspaper, his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at the state penitentiary, known as Parchman Farm, and proving the innocence of a black farmer who was being framed for arson. A Rhodes Scholar, Jealous has been named to the 40 under 40 lists of both Forbes and Time magazines, and named a Young Global Economic Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Maleaux’s views on the topics of race, culture and gender and their economic impacts are visible across a variety of platforms. Her writing has been featured in publications including USA Today, Black Issues in Higher Education, Essence and Ms. magazine and her weekly newspaper columns have appeared for more than a decade in the Los Angeles Times, Charlotte Observer, Detroit Free Press and other newspapers nationwide. As a commentator, Maleaux has appeared on CNN, BET, PBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN. The former president of Bennett College, America’s oldest historically black college for women, she has served on the faculty of institutions including the University of California at Berkeley, Michigan State University and Howard University.