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National Action Network kicks off their 16th annual convention in New York

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the convention
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the convention
Susan Watts / New York Daily News

Wednesday night was the opening of the 16th annual convention of the National Action Network (NAN) at a hotel in New York City. NAN is a civil rights organization founded by Al Sharpton in 1991. The opening night featured New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Holder.

President Obama was invited to speak at last year's convention but was unable to attend. Obama was invited again and White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that the president is looking forward to delivering the keynote speech at this year's convention on Friday night.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in attendance on Wednesday night but was not scheduled to speak. Speculation is that Gov. Cuomo has strained his relationship with progressive democrats with his efforts to triangulate his way into the White House. Cuomo has gone out of his way to appeal to republicans by allowing more conservative ideas to become law in New York at the expense of those who worked hard to get him elected as governor.

There has been a concerted effort to create a scandal involving Sharpton in regard to his involvement with the FBI in the 1980s. On his nightly program "Politics Nation," Sharpton went into detail in his closing statement on Monday night to state for the record just what his involvement was and why he got involved. He asked the question to his viewers, "If your life was being threatened and you were receiving death threats on a daily basis, wouldn't you go to the authorities?"

In his speech de Blasio blasted the policies of his predecessor Michael Bloomberg:

"We had some clear injustice when it came to the way this city was policed for a number of years. It was two different approaches and it was separate and unequal," he added, using emotionally charged language from the civil rights era.

"Some neighborhoods were treated one way, and other neighborhoods were treated another way ... Too often good, law abiding young men of color were treated as if they were suspects even if they did nothing wrong. We said we would turn that page, and turn that page aggressively."

Al Sharpton led a protest against Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for their use of the "Stop and Frisk" policy. Bloomberg supported the policy and de Blasio ran against the policy. Needless to say that de Blasio's opposition to that racist policy propelled him into the mayor's office.

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