Carnegie Mellon University
February 01, 2022

Journalist Soledad O’Brien To Give MLK Keynote Address Feb. 8

By Bruce Gerson

Ryan Scarpino
  • Media Relations
  • 412-268-2902

Award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien, host of the nationally syndicated television talk show “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” will give the keynote address for Carnegie Mellon’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Part of CMU’s University Lecture Series, O’Brien will speak at 5 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Cohon University Center’s Rangos Ballroom.

Attendance for the live in-person talk is limited and masks are required to follow COVID-19 protocols. O’Brien’s address also will be livestreamed. Those wishing to view the broadcast in person or online must register by Monday, Feb. 7.

O’Brien, a frequent guest speaker on college campuses, is expected to speak about systemic racism and how each one of us can help in dismantling racial injustice. She will speak candidly about the challenges of equality and justice in cities, where efforts are underway to reform policing, incarceration, education and land ownership.

“We must be open to inquiry and dialogue around equity and justice, especially the kind of inquiry and dialogue that is brave and impactful in dismantling systemic racism and other forms of oppression,” said Wanda Heading-Grant, CMU’s vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer.

“I believe Soledad O’Brien’s personal and professional insights through her journey as a journalist will help us as a community elevate Rev. Dr. King, Jr.’s legacy, inform our own diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and advance them forward,” Heading-Grant said.

The daughter of Australian and Cuban immigrants, O’Brien is the CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling stories on a range of social issues. She is the author of two books, “Latino in America” and “The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities.”

O’Brien has anchored news programs on CNN, MSNBC and NBC, and was a special correspondent on Al Jazeera’s “America Tonight,” for which she produced several documentaries on social issues.

At CNN, she created the “In America” documentary series, including “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” She hosted “American Injustice” a BET Town Hall on the future of criminal justice reform, and the A&E special “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America.”

O’Brien won three Emmy awards. She was honored for her coverage of the Haiti earthquake, the 2012 election and a series called “Kids and Race.” She won two George Foster Peabody awards for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina and her reporting on the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill. CNN received the Alfred I. DuPont Award for her reporting on the tsunami in Southeast Asia. In 2006, O’Brien was featured in Newsweek as one of “15 People Who Make America Great.”