Soledad O’Brien to speak at MLK commemoration

Natasha Bostok

Award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien will close out the Diversity Lecture Series on Tuesday

O’Brien will speak at the 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration: An Evening with Soledad O’Brien presented by Multicultural Student Development and University Forum Committee.

O’Brien is among many distinguished presenters of the Martin Luther King Commemoration – past presenters have been Maya Angelou, C.T. Vivian, Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni.

O’Brien is the creator of Black in America, a multi-series documentary looking at the culture and various problems within the African American community. O’Brien also launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform media production and distribution company in June 2013.

In 2011, O’Brien won an Emmy for “Crisis in Haiti Report” on Haitian orphanages. In 2012, she also won an Emmy for her coverage of the Presidential Election. In the same year, she won two George Foster Peabody awards for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Gulf coast Oil Spill.

O’Brien was chosen based on a survey of those who attended the MLK Commemoration headed by Maya Angelou. The audience was polled, and Soledad O’Brien’s name was mentioned numerous times, said Augusto Pena, director of Multicultural Student Development.

“We look for those who have name recognition, ability to advance conversations in the civil rights movements, enrich the academic experience and be an extension of the classroom,” Pena said.
Students from several classes will be able to meet for a Q&A with O’Brien, said Lynette Holman, assistant professor in the Department of Communication. Holman said the department is excited to have an opportunity to interact with the renowned journalist.

“It’s quite unique that Ms. O’Brien owns the brands ‘Black in America’ and ‘Latino in America’ and will continue to pursue the stories associated with those productions through multiple communication platforms, not just CNN,” she said.

O’Brien will speak at the 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. The event is free.

Story: Natasha Bostok, Intern News Reporter