CNN’s Black in America Tour visits U of H

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(Last Updated On: April 9, 2015)

Soledad O’Brien brought her Black in America Tour 2015 to the University of Houston campus to engage students in a conversation on the impact of aggressive policing on African Americans and current race relations in America.

Presented by UH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Spring Speaker series featured the Emmy-Award winning journalist along with panelists Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Alderman Antonio French, Dr. Leonard Baynes and Skype guest panelist, Chuck D, co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy.

The panel discussion covered a range of hot-button issues including the social unrest sparked in Florida, Ferguson, Mo., and most recently, New York City that has dominated national headlines and ignited new concerns and discussions on the current condition of race relations in the United States.

She raised insightful discussions on the different reality that African Americans continue to face that are influenced by negative perceptions that continue to prevail despite the many civil rights strides designed to guide the country in a new direction.

From Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown to Eric Garner,  the reality is that as much has changed for African Americans in America, much remains the same.

O’Brien laid bare the troubling dichotomies and dysfunctions that continue to impact the lives of many Blacks in America, particularly African American males, in an insightful hour-long panel discussion with the aim of moving toward possible solutions.

O’Brien described the topic of race in America as a “very difficult” and “a messy, but necessary conversation” that Americans must engage in “if we want to move forward.”

“We are a country that doesn’t like to talk about race, we don’t want to talk about a contentious 400-year long history. We would like people to just get over slavery already, but when we talk about current events today, discrimination, economic inequality and educational in equality, all of those things have their roots in Americans challenging history around race,” said O’Brien.

The Black in America Tour and “the conversation” continued on to a final stop at Florida International University, with previous stops at universities in the cities of Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia.

For more information on O’Brien and future project’s, visit


 Black in America Tour makes stop at University of Houston