Soledad O’Brien, former CNN anchor, to lead panel discussion in Topeka on equity and race

Soledad O’Brien arrives at the 2016 Art For Life Benefit, presented by Russell Simmons RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation, at Fairview Farms, on Saturday, July 16, 2016, in Water Mill, New York. O’Brien will be in Topeka on Monday to lead a panel discussion about equity and race, the spokesperson for Topeka Unified School District 501 said on Thursday.(Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

Broadcast journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien will be in Topeka on Monday to lead a panel discussion about equity and race, a spokeswoman for Topeka Unified School District 501 said Thursday.

 

Misty Kruger said O’Brien, a former anchor and correspondent for CNN and NBC, will moderate a panel discussion at Highland Park High School on Monday evening following a screening of the first episode of “Undercover High,” which will premiere on the A&E network at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Kruger said producers of the show that was shot at the East Topeka high school from January to May 2017 are bringing O’Brien to the capital city, not USD 501.

Lucky8 and Learning Tree executive producers asked superintendent Tiffany Anderson whom she would like to have host the panel discussion, Kruger said.

Anderson wanted O’Brien based on her past involvement in national discussions on race and social justice, Kruger said. She said one of the producers knows O’Brien and was able to get her to agree to come to Topeka to host the panel discussion.

Kruger said participants in the panel discussion include former Highland Park principal Beryl New; current assistant Highland Park principal Danny Ackerman; D’Andre Phillips, a 2017 graduate of Highland Park; and Enimini Ekong, of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

During an all-staff event Wednesday, the district showed a video it produced to explain why USD 501 and Highland Park staff got involved in “Undercover High,” a project that involved embedding seven adults who posed as students in the school to show what life is like inside a typical American high school.

Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143

or @AngelaDeines on Twitter.

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