ABOVE: (L-R) Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson, state Rep. Gloria Johnson, and state Rep. Justin Jones depart the White House to speak with members of the press after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office April 24, 2023 in Washington, DC. Biden met with the three state representatives known as the “Tennessee Three” to discuss ongoing efforts to ban assault weapons. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Tennessee Democratic State Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones are set to receive the 2023 NNPA National Legacy Awards at the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s summer convention in Nashville.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who successfully prosecuted all the officers involved in the murder of George Floyd and penned a new book about the experience, will serve as the keynote for the week’s proceedings.
With the theme, “The Black Press of America: Amplifying Progress, Excellence, and Voices of Black America,” the conference kicks off on Wednesday, June 28, at the sprawling JW Marriott hotel in downtown Nashville.
A Chairman’s Reception is planned Wednesday evening at the National Museum of African American Music.
The NNPA Fund will host its annual Messenger Awards on Thursday, June 29, recognizing the best of Black-owned media.
A Civil Rights tour and presentations by Chelsea Lenora White, Tina Xiao, and Keith Collins will serve as additional highlights of the conference.
Grammy winner Keith Washington will perform at the annual Legacy Awards dinner on Friday, June 30.
General Motors, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Nissan, Reynolds, Pfizer Rare Disease, Google News Initiative, Wells Fargo, Diageo, Comcast-NBC Universal, and Intuit are among NNPA partners and sponsors.
In his new book, “Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence,” Ellison recounts the arduous journey undertaken by his legal team to secure the conviction of the four police officers responsible for Floyd’s murder.
Despite the public availability of video evidence, Ellison sheds light on the challenges faced by prosecutors when seeking justice against law enforcement officers.
In the book, he emphasizes the difficult reality faced by prosecutors who often have personal relationships with police officers.
“These are people we work with. ‘This is the guy I met going to the picnic with. I’m playing golf with this guy.’ And so, it creates tension,” he said.
However, Ellison asserted that prosecutors must prioritize seeking justice impartially.
If unable to do so, the case should be handed over to the attorney general rather than allowing justice to be compromised.
The book highlights the critical argument made by Ellison that police reform across the country can create less stressful working conditions for officers.
By recounting the gripping details of the Derek Chauvin trial, Ellison takes readers through the prosecution’s journey, unveiling breakthroughs and revelations during a defining moment of racial reckoning and social justice awareness.
Chauvin is serving a more than 20-year federal sentence, while his ex-colleagues Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane serve at least three years for their roles in Floyd’s death, including violating his civil rights.
Ellison recently told NPR he kept a diary about the officers’ trials.
He described how he broke down in tears when he saw the video of Floyd’s murder for the first time.
“For me, it was a gut check moment, one of those moments where you ask yourself, ‘What am I about and what am I in this for?’” Ellison stated.
“And my answer had to be we’re going to do anything we can to try to make sure that the outcome is fair, just, and right.”
In “Break the Wheel,” each chapter examines the roles of various stakeholders within the justice system, including prosecutors, defendants, police union leaders, judges, activists, legislators, politicians, and media figures.
Ellison explores their contributions and attempts to break the cycle of violence, replacing it with empathy and shared understanding.
Ellison will speak to the more than 230 African American-owned publishers and media company owners during a special address on Friday, June 30.
“The National Newspaper Publishers Association enthusiastically announces that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will address the NNPA 2023 Annual National Convention,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
“Keith Ellison has emerged as one of the most effective and courageous Attorney Generals in American history,” Chavis said.
“We look forward to his speech on ‘Ending Police Violence in America’ before the national assembly of our nation’s Black newspaper publishers, media industry executives, and community activists and leaders nationwide.”
For more information on NNPA’s convention, visit http://www.nnpa-events.co