I’ve been eagerly anticipating next weekend’s New Jersey Parent Summit, an annual conference organized by the Newark-based non-profit Project Ready. Now I’m even more excited because the organizers announced today that veteran White House correspondent April Ryan, named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2017, will be the keynote speaker. She’ll talk about the importance of voting, fighting voter suppression, empowering parents, and organizing urban communities ahead of the most critical election in a generation.
“Many people feel powerless right now. They feel like they’ve been beaten into submission, even though they haven’t been,” said April Ryan. “I’m letting parents know that they have the power. The message I’m going to impart at the Parent Summit is sharing what I’ve seen, what tools work, and what doesn’t. Moms and dads need to be empowered, because parents are our first teachers and our first guides.”
Here’s the indomitable Shennell McCloud, executive director of Project Ready: “With the stakes as high as they have ever been, locally and nationally, we are thrilled to welcome April Ryan along with elected officials and prominent activists for what I know will be our most successful summit yet.
This year the Summit will be held at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick on August 2-4. Over 300 parents and grassroots leaders are expected to attend. If you’re going, shoot me an email and we’ll catch up.
Other speakers include Education Post CEO Chris Stewart (my boss!), West Side High School Principal Abkar Cook, Founder and Executive Director of PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) Maya Martin Cadogan, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best, Camden City Councilwoman Felisha Reyes Morton, Linden Councilwoman Rhashonna C. Cosby, Camden Councilwoman Shaneka Boucher, Camden Councilwoman Felicia Reyes Morton, Newark School Board Member Asia Norton, and Newark School Board Member Shayvonne Anderson.