NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - White House correspondent and author April Ryan will be the keynote speaker at the fourth annual New Jersey Parent Summit, an annual conference organized by the Newark-based non-profit Project Ready

The event will be held Aug. 2-4 at the Heldrich Hotel at 10 Livingston Ave.

Ryan, speaking about the importance of voting and fighting voter suppression, will amplify the event’s themes of empowering parents and organizing urban communities - particularly ahead of the most critical election in a generation.

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“Many people feel powerless right now. They feel like they’ve been beaten into submission, even though they haven’t been,” said Ryan. “I’m letting parents know that they have the power. The message I’m going to impart at the Parent Summit is sharing what I’ve seen, what tools work, and what doesn’t. Moms and dads need to be empowered because parents are our first teachers and our first guides.”

Ryan was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2017. She has served as a White House correspondent and DC bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks since 1997 and is a CNN political analyst.

“With the stakes as high as they have ever been, locally and nationally, we are thrilled to welcome April Ryan along with elected officials and prominent activists for what I know will be our most successful summit yet,” said Shennell McCloud, Executive Director of Project Ready.

The sold-out NJ Parent Summit has served as a platform to activate, educate and empower more than 1,000 parents, guardians, and community members across the state of New Jersey through leadership trainings, workshops, and networking opportunities.

This year’s theme is in recognition of the importance of preparing and empowering parents and grassroots leaders to make a direct impact in their community for what will be the most important election in a generation. Over 300 attendees are expected in the event held at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick.

Other speakers include Education Post CEO Chris Stewart, West Side High School Principal Abkar Cook, Founder and Executive Director of PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) Maya Martin Cadogan, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best, Camden City Councilwoman Felisha Reyes Morton, Linden Councilwoman Rhashonna C. Cosby, Camden Councilwoman Shaneka Boucher, Camden Councilwoman Felicia Reyes Morton, Newark School Board Member Asia Norton, and Newark School Board Member Shayvonne Anderson.