Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tavis Smiley Presents State of the Black Union This Weekend

State of the Black Union Brings Influential Thinkers, Entertainers and Political Leaders to Educate, Enlighten and Empower the African-American Community

UnitedHealthcare Supports This Two-Day Event and "SOBU Builds" Day of Service to Help Rebuild Parts of New Orleans Devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

WHAT: Some of the most influential thinkers, entertainers and political leaders gather each year to discuss the State of the Black Union during Black History Month. Presented annually in February -- Black History Month -- by Tavis Smiley Presents, the symposium was created to educate, enlighten and empower America by bringing people together and engaging them in thoughtful dialogue, leading the way to constructive action. Smiley will host a panel discussion with noted politicians, social scientists, business leaders and clergy on "Reclaiming our Democracy, Deciding our Future" on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

This year's event also includes SOBU Builds, an all-day event with volunteers working at six community-service projects simultaneously on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Upper Ninth Ward, the Lower Ninth Ward, Central City, Hollygrove, New Orleans East and Broadmoor. SOBU Builds lead partners include Habitat for Humanity; Trinity Christian Community, Xavier University and others. To date, nearly 2,000 volunteers have signed up to participate!

UnitedHealthcare's Generations of Wellness, which serves the health needs of African Americans, is one of the sponsors of SOBU Builds, and will help to clean up the surrounding residential community of Xavier University. In addition, UnitedHealthcare will provide free health screenings during the symposium's intermission for those in attendance.

-- Participation in the service project and attendance at the panel discussion is free and open to the public. Advanced free registration is required at

WHO: A partial list of symposium panelists include:
* Rev. Al Sharpton
* Rev. Jesse Jackson
* New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
* Donna Brazile* Sr.
*Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu
* Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker
* Norman Francis, president of Xavier University, AND MORE

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, Feb. 22: SOBU Builds 7 a.m.-3 p.m* Busing to the SOBU Builds sites to depart from Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Saturday, Feb. 23: Symposium 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.* Health screenings by UnitedHealthcare 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center900 Convention Center Blvd.,New Orleans, La., 70130(504) 582-3023

To register, contact Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati at 215-877-2012 or (fax) 215-877-4846, or log on to

CONTACT: For the Tavis Smiley Presents:Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati(215)
Note: The State of the Black Union usually airs on C-Span. Check your local listing for times and dates.


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