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Iconic Apollo Theater to launch second Uptown Hall Voter Education Series

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After the combative vice presidential debate between vice president Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan notwithstanding, the Apollo Theater is set to launch the second installment of its FREE Uptown Hall Series viewing party of the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee former Governor Mitt Romney on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm in Harlem, New York.

Prior to Tuesday’s second Presidential Debate Viewing Party, a panel discussion with political analysts including Herb Boyd  (New York Amsterdam News), Esther Armah (WBAI – FM’s Wake Up Call), Armstrong Williams (Sirius XM’s The Power), Michael Brendan Doherty (The American Conservative), William Tucker (The American Spectator) and Mark Riley  (WWRL 1600 AM.  Fordham University Political Science Assistant Professor Christina Greer will moderate the panel discussion.

“More than ever we need a national dialogue on critical social and political issues,” said panelist Mr. Boyd – an award-winning author, journalists and managing editor for The Black World TodayApollo Theater- who also teaches black studies at the City College of New York and the College of New Rochelle – in his response to an email request seeking comments on what he hoped to achieve by his participation on the presidential debate viewing party.

Panelist Herb Boyd

“Since this current political season has stimulated a number of such gatherings, it is important that as many people as possible–in small or large settings–get a chance to hear and to voice their rights as a citizen.  Too often this is done among private interest groups, and so-called think tanks, which limits participatory democracy,” Mr. Boyd added.

Apollo Theater officials are using the series as a conduit to educate New Yorkers about the political process and to reestablish the status of The Apollo Theater as not only a venue for entertainment but as a community theater as well.

During the first Uptown Hall Series called “Vote Like Your Life Depends on It” which was held on September 17th in association with Black Entertainment, a five member panelists including Elinor Tatum, publisher of The New York Amsterdam News, professor Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. Al Sharpton, James Braxton Peterson and author and political analyst Keli Goff discussed political issues that impacts Harlem community including education, supreme court nomination, healthcare and voter suppression.

“The series features innovative activities linking performing arts presentations, activities and events that respond to critical global issues that have relevance to the Harlem community and that speak to a broader audience,” Nina Flowers, Associate Director, Marketing & Communications authoritatively stated in a related media advisory.

The legendary DJ Chris Washington of fame will supply music.   Following the panel discussion, the audience at the presidential debate viewing party will also have an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session led by Shannon LaNier of Black Enterprise Business Report

Emphasizing on some of his goals for Tuesday, Mr Boyd said “there’s a crying need for intergenerational discussion between veteran political activists and those just entering the arena.  That’s one positive thing I hope we can accomplish.  And this is just one of the benefits because in this age of information overload, folks are absolutely flummoxed and we don’t need a confused and baffled electorate.”

Mr. Boyd also maintained that “far too many are cynical or misinformed, or have given up on the hard-earned franchise, believing their vote doesn’t mean anything.  If there ever was a time when they needed to get involved, now is the time,” he said.

By Dennis Kabatto

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