NEW YORK, May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In ESSENCE's groundbreaking February 2015 'Black Lives Matter' issue, ESSENCE editors and a myriad of esteemed contributors focused attention on the daring modern-day civil rights movement unfolding across the nation and set the agenda for 'What We Must Do Now' with a bold dialogue in the pages of the magazine. Today, Essence is announcing a slate of empowerment programming and a 'Peace, Prayer & Purpose Rally' to bring that conversation to life during the daytime Empowerment Experience at the 2015 ESSENCE Festival, July 2-5 in New Orleans.
"Communities across the country are rallying for justice, as Black Americans face systemic inequalities and troubling disparities with respect to police brutality, employment, education, earning power, health and upward socio-economic mobility," said Essence President Michelle Ebanks. "In an effort to shed light on the issues, address the pain, explore solutions and advance the movement in these critical times, Essence is unveiling a series of powerful keynotes and in-depth conversations that will culminate in the 'Peace, Prayer & Purpose Rally'."
The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience programming will extend the conversation on race relations; addressing where we are now and where we go from here with a wide range of the nation's foremost leaders, activists and influencers—including Deepak Chopra, Rev. Al Sharpton, Steve Harvey, Iyanla Vanzant, Donna Brazile and many more.
In addition, prominent mayors, including Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN) and Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans, LA), will join a Mayor's Panel for a deep-dive conversation on the critical issues and best-practices in communities around the country; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, will deliver a keynote address entitled Moms on a Mission: Mothers Turning Tragedy Into Triumphant Change; and leading experts, including Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Dr. Steve Perry, Nicole Paultre Bell and more will weigh in on the educational, policy and social issues impacting our communities for a discussion on Where Do We Go From Here: Black Lives Matter. The Empowerment Experience Sunday Prayer Vigil and All-Star Gospel Tribute round out the weekend programs with poignant moments of reflection, rededication and inspiration.
For more information about schedules, ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival, visit ESSENCE Festival www.essencefestival.com, join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2015 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.
The 2015 ESSENCE Festival™ is executive produced by ESSENCE Festivals LLC, a division of ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI), and produced by Solomon Group. GeChar is the executive producer of the 2015 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience and Empower U.
Sponsors of the 2015 ESSENCE Festival include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald's, My Black Is Beautiful, Samsung Galaxy, State Farm, Verizon, Walmart and official media partner MSNBC. Superlounge sponsors include Coca-Cola, Ford, Verizon and Walmart. The All-Star Gospel Tribute is sponsored by Walmart.
ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:
ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online. The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the ESSENCE Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the ESSENCE Book Club, ESSENCE.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 45 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of 13.4 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.
SOURCE ESSENCE magazine