April Ryan Visits Obama

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On Wednesday, May 24, the school was honored to host April Ryan, a bestselling author, 20-year White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and recently appointed CNN political analyst, for a discussion on the arc of the Trump administration, the state of race in the United States, and the trials of journalism in this day and age.

The forum lasted about an hour and involved a brief lecture by Ms. Ryan, a live interview conducted by the editors of The Eagle, and a question and answer session during which those attending, who included students, faculty, and family from not only Obama but also City High, Brashear, and A+ Schools, had an opportunity to pick the writer’s brain even further.

Ms. Ryan is no stranger to controversy, having covered four different presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump), but was recently thrust into the spotlight after Press Secretary Sean Spicer told her to “stop shaking her head” in response to a comment he made at a press conference. The interaction spawned several internet memes and catapulted Ms. Ryan into the public eye. During the discussion, Ms. Ryan touched upon this, stressing the importance of a level head and willingness to continue asking the hard questions, even when the cold world of the modern media knocks you down.

This sentiment was one of the countless truths dished out by Ms. Ryan throughout the sixty minutes. She went on to speak about how facts were the only way to fight back against ignorance and racism, and explained how the duty of a journalist is to ensure that the people’s questions are the ones being asked and to seek out real answers, regardless of any attempts to wash over unpleasant subjects with broad umbrella statements.

Perhaps the most powerful remark of the afternoon came when Ms. Ryan delved into her home of Baltimore. She reflected on how she used to often walk along the same street that Freddie Gray was arrested on and remembered fearing for her children during the ensuing riots. To her, it is events like these that, while horrible, motivate her work both as an author and a reporter. She has experienced first-hand the racial divide that exists in this country and believes that writing about it is the best way to address it and spread awareness.

The gathering was sponsored by PublicSource. April Ryan’s books are entitled The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America and At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White.

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