SPECIAL EDITION | Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 8 PM EST / 5 PM PST
MEET THE PANEL
Panel for Pt 1 Below | Stay Tuned for Part 2 Panel
The Honorable Lorna Johnson MSN, NM, NP is an accomplished business leader, philanthropist, health care professional and community advocate. A proud American citizen of Jamaican-Cuban heritage, Ms. Johnson is not content to rest on her success.
As a nurse practitioner and midwife, she founded and runs the Advanced Family Care Medical Group, an inner-city medical clinic serving thousands of patients in East and South Central Los Angeles, California. Her knowledge and expertise is sought by professionals at all levels. Developing a successful practice was a long, tough journey for Johnson, but her persistence and strong desire to become a healthcare advocate for women and families enabled her to achieve her childhood dream and touch countless lives.
She strives to help people envision better lives for themselves and encourages them to utilize available resources to accomplish that goal. Johnson proudly shared her diverse knowledge about healthcare as a committee member on President Obama’s National Health Care Advisory Committee. As a member of the President’s Committee, she encouraged the use of certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners as primary care providers.
Johnson works globally to share her leadership and expertise. She was recruited and is tasked to serve as an essayist with the UN Foundation for Women and Girls, alongside global leaders like Melinda Gates. Through this position, she will continue to promote women and children’s health around the world.
In the area of entrepreneurship, Johnson is a real estate investor, served as President for the local chamber of commerce and has developed an outstanding business platform on which she has created partnerships to bring about needed changes in the community.
As a philanthropist, she has impacted the lives of thousands through Compassion for Teen Life, her non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-income children and their families with supportive services focused on living healthy lifestyles. She is also the past Secretary of the Los Angeles Consular Corps (the third largest in the world) and was asked to serve as the Chief of Protocol. Lorna has been featured in numerous global, local, and national media outlets including: MSNBC, The Guardian, The Hill, Blocktech Women Conference 2019,Voice of America, NBC and Vogue Magazine.
As for her astute business sense and desire to be the best at everything she does, Johnson credits her mother who also was a strong woman and an entrepreneur. Johnson says, “My mother was a pioneering trailblazer in her time. She started off with nothing, burning coal and selling it. She was a strong role model for me and I always wanted to make my mother proud.” Johnson learned from her mother how to endure challenges, to have tenacity and stand up for what you believe in. Her mother was an entrepreneur in her own right. At a young age, she knew she would be successful at whatever she attempted, but she had no idea that her hard work would take her down paths that only a few people experience.
Tim Shriver is the long-time Chairman of Special Olympics, best-selling author, founding force of the social and emotional learning (SEL) movement, film producer, husband, and father. In 2018, he began asking new questions–how could the SEL teaching skills like empathy and self-awareness help the country? How could the example of the athletes of Special Olympics provide a model for a divided world? Hundreds of young people, faith leaders, educators, philosophers, scientists, activists and political figures have joined the conversation. Together, they came to the conclusion that in spite of the divides, the world is hungry for ideas that unite. Thus, they founded UNITE, the collective for common purpose – crossing divides to address problems that can only be solved together. As the launch of UNITE neared, Covid-19 became a pandemic, and suddenly humanity’s interdependence and need for connection became the leading themes of human events. Seeing the need, the group agreed to start its work early, and The Call to Unite became project one.
Chicago native Daryl Davis graduated from Howard University, with a degree in Jazz. Outside of school, he was personally trained by legendary Blues, Boogie Woogie and Rock’n’Roll pianists Pinetop Perkins and Johnnie Johnson who both claimed him as their godson and praised his ability to master a piano style that was popular long before he was born. In addition to being a pianist and vocalist, Daryl is also a professional actor, author, and lecturer, now residing in Maryland.Apart from leading The Daryl Davis Band, he has worked with Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, Chuck Berry, The Legendary Blues Band, Percy Sledge, Sam Moore, Nappy Brown and many others. Daryl’s CDs have received rave reviews from leading music magazines, and he has won several WAMA (Washington Area Music Association) Awards for Best Artist in the Roots and Blues categories. Daryl has tours nationwide and internationally. His Greatest Hits CD is his latest release.A man once told Daryl, he’d never seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained, they both learned from black Blues and Boogie Woogie pianists. The man found it hard to believe in the black origin of the music but became a regular fan of Daryl’s. Turns out, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This experience led to Daryl becoming the first black author to travel the country interviewing KKK leaders and members. His experiences are detailed in his book, Klan-Destine Relationships and the newly released award-winning documentary Accidental Courtesy. Most recently, Davis has been establishing a relationship with the KKK in Charlottesville, VA.As an actor, Daryl has appeared on the stage, the big screen and television. He also played a role in the critically acclaimed and awarded television show The Wire. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his music and work in race relations and is often seen and heard on cable and network television and radio as a race relations expert.
From community organizing in South Los Angeles to becoming the first-ever African American woman in the United States to serve as a Speaker of a state legislative body, Karen Bass has always been a fighter for social justice and equity, two principles she’s continued to fight for in Washington, DC.
Karen was raised with three brothers in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles and is the only daughter of DeWitt and Wilhelmina Bass. Watching the Civil Rights Movement on television with her father initially sparked her interest in community activism. It was at that time that she made a lifetime commitment to fighting for social and economic justice. A graduate of Hamilton High School, Cal State Dominguez Hills and the University of Southern California, Karen has represented Los Angeles in both Sacramento and Washington, DC for more than 14 years.
Karen served as Speaker during California’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Under her leadership, the Assembly fast-tracked federal economic stimulus legislation that aided Californians who were affected by the national economic crisis and jumpstarted billions of dollars in infrastructure projects. In addition to helping navigate the state through a very difficult time, she passed legislation to make healthcare more accessible and affordable healthcare for Californians and championed efforts to improve the child welfare system and to provide tax credits to keep film production in California. For her leadership in California, Karen, alongside fellow Democratic and Republican lawmakers David Cogdill, Darrell Steinberg and Michael Villines, received the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, which has also been awarded to President Barack Obama and Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.
In 1990, in response to the crack-cocaine and gang violence crisis that was gripping Los Angeles, Karen founded Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South L.A. that empowers the African-American and Latino community across generations to address substance abuse, poverty and crime in South Los Angeles. Through her leadership at Community Coalition, Karen worked to engage community residents in addressing the root causes of injustice. The organization has been recognized nationally for successful public policy campaigns that have won millions of dollars for the community.
Prior to launching Community Coalition, Karen was a nurse, Physician Assistant, and clinical instructor at USC.
Sara Sidner is CNN’s multiple award winning national and international correspondent, now based in the network’s Los Angeles bureau. Sidner moved to Los Angeles in 2014, after being posted in Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and New Delhi, India.
In 2020 Sidner helped lead the network’s coverage in Minneapolis, Minnesota after the police killing of George Floyd. Sidner was front and center in the midst of tear gas, rubber bullets, and fires during protests against police brutality that erupted for weeks in Minneapolis and then spread across the country and the world. She was the first and only reporter to be a conduit between the Chief of Police and the Floyd Family who had not yet spoken since Floyd’s death. It all unfolded on live television.
Months prior Sidner lead the Network’s coverage in Seattle, Washington covering the first known major deadly coronavirus outbreak in the United States. There she managed to get an exclusive interview with some of the nurses and staff members of the Kirkland, Washington nursing home where the first known major deadly outbreak of COVID19 occurred in the US. She also reported from two of the hospitals that were besieged by Covid19 patients entering their COVID19 units as doctors and nurses scrambled to save their lives.
In 2016 she took on a beat which focused on social, racial, and political conflict across the United States. During her work she was involved in extended coverage in the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally that ended with the murder of anti-racism protestor Heather Heyer. She covered the trial of the Neo-Nazi who killed Heyer. She has also interviewed numerous victims of racism as well as members of the KKK, white nationalist, and Neo-Nazi at the center of a new resurgence of overt and violent racism in America.
In 2014 Sidner led the network’s coverage in Ferguson, Missouri where protests continued for more than 100 days after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer. She was there for weeks while a grand jury looked at evidence and ultimately decided not to indict the officer. Their decision sparked two nights of rioting in Ferguson after weeks of peaceful protests. But it also lead to nationwide protests and a national conversation about race and policing in America, as well as a state commission and Presidential task force on policing.
Sidner worked for CNN as an international correspondent beginning in 2008. She was based in India then Jerusalem and later Abu Dhabi. She has reported from a multitude of countries, including India, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia, Chile, and Haiti.
In 2011 in the Middle East, Sidner was part of the team that won a Peabody award for CNN’s coverage of the Arab Spring. Her work in Libya reporting in the midst of rebel fighters during the fall of Tripoli has been recognized all over the world. In 2011 Sidner shared the Achievement of the Year Award from SKY WFTV Women in Film & Television in the United Kingdom for her war coverage in Libya during the Arab Spring.
While in India, Sidner headed the coverage of South Asia from the New Delhi bureau. One of her first major international stories unfolded when terrorists attacked several places in Mumbai, including the famed Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, on November 26, 2008. Sidner was live throughout the 2008 siege that lasted 60 hours and took more than 170 lives. Her stories from South Asia also included a documentary on the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, several stints reporting in war-torn Afghanistan, and live coverage of violent political eruptions in Thailand and Bangladesh. She also explored many stories about the social and economic developments in India, culminating in a series of stories for CNN International’s award winning “Freedom Project.” Sidner also traveled to Chile and Haiti to cover the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in those countries.
Sidner has collected two Asian Television Awards — one for her 2011 report on the horrors faced by young Bangladeshis forced into begging and a second for the 2012 Freedom Project documentary ‘Operation Hope’, which chronicled the extraordinary journey, from suffering to recovery, of one of these children, a seven-year-old boy who was castrated and left for dead when he refused to beg.
In 2013, Sidner received two Alliance for Women in Media Gracie Awards; one for her coverage of India’s unwanted girls where she explored the issue of female infanticide in India and a second for her breaking news coverage of the 2012 Gaza-Israel conflict from Gaza & Israel. In 2014, Sidner also reported from Malaysia on missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, from Ukraine on the downed Malaysia Airlines flight 17, and from the Israeli border during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza.
Prior to joining CNN, Sidner was an anchor and reporter at local television news stations in San Francisco, Dallas, Florida, and Missouri. She received multiple awards during this time, including a regional Emmy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and several Telly Awards.
Indianola, Mississippi, birthplace of three contributions to American History. On the great side of our history, Indianola was the birthplace of B.B. King who introduced the Blues to people all over this country and the world. Second on the shameful and deplorable side of American History, Indianola was the birthplace of the White Citizens Council, the white collar upscale executive branch of the Ku Klux Klan. It is the birthplace of my friend Scott Shepherd who is helping to bring positive change to this country so it can be greater than it’s ever been.
Like most Southern towns, railroad tracks ran though the town. Whites lived on one side of the tracks and Blacks lived on the other side, often referred to as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Scott did not live on the wrong side of the tracks. He sat in the good seats at the local movie theatre in Indianola, while those from the wrong side of the tracks had to sit in the less desirable seats. Scott got to drink from the Whites Only water fountain while the others drank from the Colored Only fountain.
Despite the fact that Scott’s grandmother, his own mother and Scott himself, were raised by the same Black nanny, Scott’s life took a turn for the worse and reached a point where he hated those people from the wrong side of the tracks. He hated them so much he went and became the Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux for the states of Mississippi and next door Tennessee. He would eventually rise from Grand Dragon which is a state leader to Imperial Wizard, which is a national leader.
Today, those tracks have not changed. They are still there in Indianola as they still are in most Southern towns, but Scott has changed. Today, he has many friends supporters from both sides of the tracks. One of his biggest fans is me.