By Special to the Daily World
CNN, the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights have joined together to launch “CNN Dialogues,” a series of public discussions featuring prominent figures debating the major issues that define our times. CNN’s lead political anchor and anchor of “The Situation Room” Wolf Blitzer moderated the inaugural program on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at The Cecil B. Day Chapel of The Carter Center. This first public forum focused on the U.S. Census and the impact of the nation’s changing demographics upon who we are and how we live, examining our national identity, economy, politics, and the view of America in the broader world.
For the inaugural program, “CNN Dialogues: The 2010 Census and a New America,” Blitzer facilitated a discussion with author Heidi Durrow, who wrote “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky;” attorney, host of PBS’ “America Revealed,” and winner of television’s “Survivor: Cook Islands,” Yul Kwon; University of Maryland sociology and demography professor Dr. Kris Marsh; actor/activist Edward James Olmos; and Emory University American studies professor Dr. Dana White. The onstage discussion included questions and comments from the audience. Profits from ticket sales supported the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University.
Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said CNN was pleased to join with Emory and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in a shared mission of bringing information and insights to venues where public dialogue and debate will be engaging and enlightening. The other two groups also expressed their gratitude.
This was the first of three programs in the series that will be presented in 2011. In the coming months, other CNN Dialogues will focus on the impact of the digital age upon concepts of privacy and American culture, and the effect of openness on LGBT communities. Future topics will include the arts, culture, economic issues, media, science, politics and sports themes.
The planning committee for the CNN Dialogues includes writer Pearl Cleage; Robert Franklin, Morehouse College president; Penelope McPhee, president and trustee of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; Ron Sauder, vice president for communications and marketing for Emory University; Cedric Suzman, executive vice president and director of programming for Atlanta’s World Affairs Council; Tisha Tallman, president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Eric Tanenblatt of Atlanta-based law firm McKenna, Long, and Aldrich.