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This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism —
A Book Talk with CNN’s Don Lemon

Date May 5, 2021

Time 5:00PM EST

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This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism —
A Book Talk with CNN’s Don Lemon


From the Publisher:

In this ‘vital book for these times’ (Kirkus Reviews), Don Lemon brings his vast audience and experience as a reporter and a Black man to today’s most urgent question: How can we end racism in America in our lifetimes?

The host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon is more popular than ever. As America’s only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon and his daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America’s systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them.

Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew:

“We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.”

About the Author:

Don Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon airing weeknights at 10pm. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network’s New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006.

A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama. He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon’s interview with Cooper on CNN. He has served as moderator for CNN’s political town halls, co-moderated first 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate and co-hosted Color of Covid special that addressed the pandemic’s impact on communities of color. Lemon served as the network’s leading voice guiding viewers through the death of George Floyd and summer of nationwide protests and riots.

Lemon serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, teaching and participating in curriculum designed around new media. He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and also attended Louisiana State University.

About the Moderator:

Elie Honig serves as a CNN Legal Analyst. He provides commentary and analysis for CNN on air and in print on breaking news relating to criminal justice, national security and other legal issues, including a weekly column and on-air segment “Cross-Exam with Elie Honig.” Honig also serves as a faculty associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Honig also serves as Executive Director of the Rutgers Institute for Secure Communities, an umbrella entity whose primary goal is pushing Rutgers to the forefront of criminal justice, policing, and national security issues.

Honig obtained his undergraduate degree from Rutgers College (New Brunswick) in 1997. As a Rutgers undergraduate, Honig was selected as an Eagleton Institute Undergraduate Associate; completed the General Honors Program; served as a student government officer; and was inducted in the Cap and Skull Society. After graduating from Rutgers, Honig earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 2000. Honig is currently writing a book on the damage that Attorney General William Barr has inflicted on the Justice Department. Harper Collins will publish the book in July 2021.

With Opening Remarks by Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway:

Jonathan Holloway, a U.S. historian, took office as the 21st president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on July 1, 2020. He also serves as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Prior to accepting the presidency of Rutgers, Dr. Holloway was provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the faculty of Yale University from 1999 to 2017.  At Yale, he served as Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies.

As Northwestern University’s chief academic officer, Dr. Holloway supervised the university’s educational policies and academic priorities, oversaw preparation of the university’s annual budget, acted on faculty appointments and promotions, and directed the allocation of resources and space to academic units. President Holloway’s scholarly work specializes in post-emancipation U.S. history with a focus on social and intellectual history. His most recent book, The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans, was published by Oxford University Press earlier this year.