For its 20th anniversary festival over the July 4 weekend in New Orleans, it was announced today, the Essence Festival will expand its annual program of daytime seminars and workshops dedicated to spiritual, economic, physical and romantic improvement.
The 2014 Essence “Year of Empowerment” will kick off by commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act signed July 2, 1964, and celebrate, organizers said, by tripling its free daytime programs. Speakers this year so far include the Rev. Al Sharpton, Alicia Keys, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Steve Harvey, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and many others.
Also on tap is the introduction of the new Empower U workshop series. Steve Harvey, small-business expert Melinda Emerson, former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and others will lead sessions on dedicated tracks including healthy living, education and technology, love and relationships, style and beauty, and finance.
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