Obama To Speak At Unity ’08 Next Week After All

By: E&P Staff

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, who backed out of a candidates forum at Unity ’08 later this week in Chicago, will speak to the joint convention of minority journalists association when he returns from his overseas tour, Unity said late Saturday.

Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. said Obama will speak to the convention Sunday morning July 27 in what is expected to be his first national appearance after returning from his travel to Europe and the Middle East.

Unity said it had also invited the presumptive Republican candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, to speak at the quadrennial convention as well. It had not able to secure his commitment as of late Saturday, Unity added.

In the months leading up to the convention, Unity had said both nominees would speak at a joint appearance on Thursday July 24 that was to be broadcast by CNN on prime time. Last week, however, it became apparent neither would appear, Obama because of his foreign travel and McCain because of what his campaign said was a long-standing agreement to speak at Lance Armstrong’s “Town Hall on Cancer.”

Unity said Obama’s appearance will be broadcast live on CNN, and will involve journalists of color from CNN, Time Magazine and the four journalists associations.

“We are pleased that our Unity colleagues will have the chance to hear from Sen. Obama and be among the first to question him upon his return from his overseas trip,” Unity President Karen Lincoln Michel said. “We hope that in this historic campaign, Sen. McCain, whose presence is equally important, will also address our audience — the kind of audience that reflects the growing diversity in America.”

Candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry spoke at Unity at its 2004 convention, though in separate forums.

This year’s Unity convention, scheduled for July 23 through 27 at McCormick Place in Chicago is the fourth joint meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, and the Native American Journalists Association. It has the theme, “A New Journalism for a Changing World.”

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