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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of Soledad

If you were watching any major news network Tuesday night, you probably caught President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

But if you were a student at Emory , you were probably listening to a different kind of "State"--that is, the annual State of Race address sponsored by the College Council, the Center for Ethics, and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.

This year's speaker was Soledad O'Brien, the award-winning CNN anchor of Black in America, Latino in America, Muslim in America, and Gary and Tony Have a Baby.

Thanks to my almost three-hour class on Tuesday nights, I missed half of O'Brien's speech but what I did catch was smart, bold, and comical.

As the title of the lecture states, O'Brien spoke about race in America, about Hurricane Katrina, and other anecdotes she picked up along her way as a reporter. She stressed the importance of making education accessible and rewarding to all races.

She also talked about how easy it is to misread Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. When you start quoting other parts than "I have a dream" or "content of character," she said, people get lost. And that's because his speech is really about economic empowerment, she said.

Following her hour-long lecture, she answered a few questions, the most memorable of which asked if Wolf Blitzer's beard was indeed real. She was stumped. She said she'd never actually given it a tug.

To continue a trend I've started for myself with meeting famous people who come to Emory (i.e., Third Eye Blind), I got to meet O'Brien herself during a book signing after the event. Although I could've handed her my resume and convinced her that I'd be the next great anchor on CNN, I didn't. Instead, I shook her hand, introduced myself, and told her how I wish I could've missed class to see her full speech.

She thanked me but told me never to skip class.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications intern

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