UPDATED October 12, 2020 – NEWARK, NJ – The WNET Group, NJTV and NJ Spotlight News will present a special event to tackle the tough issues facing today’s U.S. cities in the wake of COVID-19 and social justice issues: American Cities Rebuilding. This three-day event utilizes broadcast, digital and virtual tools to convene nationally-recognized experts who will share ideas from Newark, NJ, and beyond on how our cities can address their economy, healthcare, education and more through the lens of current conditions and how cities may emerge as resilient and thriving ecosystems. The public is welcome to join the virtual event by registering in advance. Registration is required. Click here to register.

American Cities Rebuilding is a shining example of the power of public media,” said WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro. “No other outlet can present more in-depth, engaging public affairs discussion in such a high-profile way. We look forward to connecting dynamic voices from around the country in powerful discussion about critical issues facing our communities and our country.”

Participants include (subject to change):

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director, Rhode Island Department of Health; Kemi Alli, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Henry J. Austin Health Center; Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Anchor, CNN and Host, Amanpour & Company; Erika Anthony, Executive Director, Ohio Transformation Fund;  Hon. Ras Baraka, Mayor, City of Newark, NJ; Joanna Belcher, Executive Director, KIPP Newark; Richard E. Besser, MD, President & CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;  Hon. Cory Booker, U.S. Senator (NJ); Jeffrey Brenner, MD, Founder, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO, Chase Consumer Banking; Karen Cator, President & CEO, Digital Promise; Alfa Demmellash, CEO/Co-founder, Rising Tide Capital; Shereef Elnahal, MD, President & CEO, University Hospital; Crissy Fanganello, Director, Smart Mobility, Panasonic Corporation of North America; Jenna Flanagan, Host, MetroFocus; Jack Ford, Host, MetroFocus & Correspondent 60 Minutes Sports; Laura Fox, General Manager, Citi Bike, at Lyft Bikes and Scooters; Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Aisha Glover, Vice President of Urban Innovation, Global Center for Urban Development, Audible; Darnell Grisby, Director, Policy Development and Research, American Public Transportation Association; Arlan Hamilton, Founder + Managing Partner, Backstage Capital; Michael Hill, Correspondent, NJ Spotlight News; Jonathan Holloway, President, Rutgers University; Don Katz, Founder and Executive Chairman, Audible; Joel Katz, Documentary Filmmaker; and, Media Arts Professor, NJ City University; James King, Managing Director, Harlem Stage; David Kroman, Staff Reporter, Crosscut; Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy, Ironbound Community Corporation; Nnenna Lynch, Founder & CEO, Xylem Projects; Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO, EducationSuperHighway; John Mooney, Founding Editor, NJ Spotlight; Tara Moss, Seattle-King County LEAD Project Director, Public Defender Association; Hon. Jorge O. Elorza, Mayor, City of Providence, RI; Lata N. Reddy, Senior Vice President, Inclusive Solutions, Prudential Financial and, Chair, The Prudential Foundation; Neal Shapiro, President & CEO, WNET; Hari Sreenivasan, Anchor, PBS NewsHour Weekend; Lilo H. Stainton, Health Care Writer, NJ Spotlight News; Norm Stamper, former Chief of Police, Seattle, and Author, How to Fix America’s Police; Ebony Thomas, SVP of ESG; Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Executive, Bank of America; Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation; Roy Weathers, PwC Vice Chair & Societal Engagement and Solutions Leader; Mary Alice Williams, former Anchor, NJTV News and former Co-Anchor, NBC Weekend Today.

On Wednesday, October 14, the event kicks off with a special interview about the future of American Cities on Amanpour and Company on NJTV, Thirteen and WLIW21 (check local listings).

On Thursday, October 15, and Friday, October 16, a series of discussions will be held on a web-based platform that include themes such as Reimagining the Urban Economy; Moving Cities Forward: Leadership in Crisis; Infrastructure: A Ticket to Ride in Post-COVID-19; Healthcare: Flattening the Curve and Addressing the Disparities; Education: Raising Our Cities’ Children and Criminal Justice: Equity for All in America’s Cities.

On November 11, an American Cities Rebuilding television special will feature highlights from the conference.

To learn more about the event and sponsorship opportunities are available, visit

American Cities Rebuilding is a collaboration between NJ Spotlight News, the news division of NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, and WNET, the nation’s flagship public media organization.

Major funding for American Cities Rebuilding is provided by Prudential Financial. Additional support provided by J.P. Morgan Chase, MCJ Amelior Foundation, PhRMA, PSEG, Bank of America, NJ American Water, New Jersey Children’s Foundation, Rutgers University Foundation, Panasonic and University Hospital.


About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey, and NJ Spotlight. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport, WLIW21 Passport and NJTV Passport members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW21, NJTV and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

About NJ Spotlight News

NJ Spotlight News  is the news division of NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, providing multi-platform reporting across the Garden State and producing live news specials and hosting roundtable discussions.