Tavis Smiley received a standing ovation from a packed house of about 300 people for his thought-provoking keynote address at Destiny 2006: Creating An Agenda for Change at Canaan Christian Church on Friday, May 5th. Morning workshops and the afternoon keynote address centered on around four critical issues affecting African Americans, health, violence, education and economic empowerment. "When we make black America better, we make all of America better," Smiley said.
Tavis Smiley still has me smilin'. I enjoyed his no-holds-barred, keepin'-it-real approach to the keynote Derby Weekend. He stepped on, to borrow his expression, "errrbody's" toes, including mine. Simply put, yet eloquently stated, he said, and I'm paraphrasing, we've got to get off our butts and do something about the mess we are in because, as Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, ain't nobody else coming to our rescue. Smiley's address was certainly the highlight of my entire weekend. Hats off, too, to Canaan Christian Church for hosting that substanative event, and for creating a plan of action that promises to provide solutions to issues plaguing the Black community.
Smiley signed autographs of the bestseller, Covenant with Black America at Book-A-Million Bookstore on Breckinridge Lane and at Canaan Christian Church on Hikes Lane the morning and afternoon of the Destiny event. Long lines of fans and Covenant readers waited patiently at both locations to meet the radio and television talk show host, author, and commentator. Above, bottom left photo, Smiley signed an autograph for my sister-in-law, Sharon Price.
I conducted a 10-minute phone interview on WLOU Radio with Smiley that aired several times the week leading up to the Destiny event. Smiley told me several people told him they heard our conversation. He also signed my copy of Covenant with the words, "Angela, thanks for the love. Stay strong! - Tavis Smiley."