It would take a Paul Bunyan to get his arms around the proliferation of ideas and proposals germinated at the 16th Annual National Action Network Convention last week at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Over the four-day span there were nearly fifty events, including panels, awards, special meetings and presentations, and featured speeches from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the convention, Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the work of NAN’s president the Rev. Al Sharpton, citing him as “a blessing,” and adding that “his work gets more powerful with every passing year.”

The same can be said about the convention, and if a Bunyan is needed to embrace all the activities, then a team of reporters is necessary to capture the essential points, debates, arguments, and conclusions that pervaded each of the panels, and even some of the hallway discussions, some as lively and long as the lines outside the hotel and the one inside of folks hoping to get tickets for Obama’s appearance.

The length and overlap of panels, the usual bane at conventions and conferences, was a challenge, so it was often a hard choice to make between rushing from the New York Ballroom to the Riverside Ballroom and hoping there was still room available. That was particularly problematic on Thursday when an engrossing media panel interfered with attendance to the assembly of Black intellectuals grappling with the issues troubling Black America.

One of the big surprises at the media panel was the presence of our publisher, Elinor Tatum; she was not listed in the program. If she was sitting in for the absence of George Curry, then he had an able and most astute designated panelist and she stressed the complacency and the absence of a movement in the wake of a so-called post-racial society. And Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, echoed Tatum’s charge, insisting that “we must cover the movements…show their activism.”

If there were a crowd-pleasing response to the role of the media in Crafting the Social Narrative, the panel’s title, it belonged to veteran radio and television commentator Joe Madison, popularly known as “The Black Eagle.” Well, the Eagle was soaring and he said he was particularly incensed upon arrival to New York City from D.C. to see the headlines of the two major dailies castigating Sharpton. “It’s like Malcolm X said,” he began, “the media can make the guilty look innocent and the innocent look guilty.”

Most of the panelists that included Jay Dow of WPIX-TV; Desiree Rogers, president and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company; Jonathan Alter, former senior editor of Newsweek magazine, had something to say about the old bugaboo—objective journalism. “I don’t believe in left or right, but right and wrong,” concluded Heuvel.

By the time you navigate the crowd to the Riverside Ballroom a crowbar is needed to get another person in the room, which means it was only possible to grab bits and pieces of the always enlightened comments from a lineup of doctors—Peniel Joseph, Michael Eric Dyson, Farah Griffin, James Peterson, Marsha Darling, Ivory Johnson, and Eddie Glaude. Entering in the middle of a debate, it took no deep thinking to understand Griffin’s message about the role of an intellectual who must “be willing to be unpopular.” Dyson felt compelled to say a few things in support of Tavis Smiley. “He has provided a platform for those who have been critical of him,” Dyson explained.

Joseph, who has just released a biography of Stokely Carmichael, reminded the packed room of the recent decisions by the Supreme Court, noting that “we need to be cognizant of what they are doing to our cherished civil rights laws,” he warned. “The recent decision of McCutcheon V. Shelby County means that rich people can spend as much as they want during a two-year election cycle.”

He touched on a point that was emphasized by Attorney General Holder a day earlier and who devoted most of his brief speech to the withering attacks he and the president have been enduring. “…What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with this kind of treatment?” he asked rhetorically about the mean-spirited Republican and right wing attacks.

Holder, a native of the Bronx, a point well-received by the audience, having warmed to his topic addressed the ongoing vicious cycle of poverty and devastation, the stop and frisk that has been so rampant in New York City, which he saw as nothing more than an aspect of racial profiling, were passionately discussed and brought applause from the audience.

Justice was a word that was repeated again and again, and when he placed it in context of the legacy of Dr. King it had special resonance.

“We have a moral imperative to keep his [Dr. King] legacy alive,” Holder asserted.

During his introduction of Holder, Sharpton said he was “not a man for the season but for a reason.” And those reasons were clearly articulated.

Leading a panel on Election 2014, Professor Charles Ogletree as moderator had as much to say as the panelists, and that stemmed in part, not because of his wise counsel but also because of his close association with President Obama. On more than one occasion he pointed out a conversation between him and the president. “He told me that when it came to certain issues, he was not going to wait for Congress, but do it himself.” And it’s hard to believe that someone could outtalk Chris Matthews of MSNBC, but Professor James Peterson weighed in with considerable insight.

But Rep. Alicia Reece of Ohio perhaps delivered the most telling response to publisher Thomas Crater’s question about what’s to be done about the Koch brothers and the amount of money they are prepared to spend on the upcoming midterm elections. “It’s only the two of them,” she said, which was very similar to Madison’s response on the issue. “We are many and we know it’s a struggle, but we’ve got God on our side.” Rep. Alan Williams of Florida said: “We’ve got to mobilize our constituents.”

Panels on Gun Violence, Women’s Braintrust; Corporations and their impact on the community; education, especially the debate over charter schools; the endangered Black male; the truth to power revival; and the Bayard Memorial Luncheon, to say nothing of the Keepers of the Dream Dinner, where one could be nourished for the running and rigor required to absorb the abundance of exciting exchanges, were unfortunately missed.

Next year either a team will be in place or this reporter will be reasonably cloned to handle all the information that will certainly be dispensed in the same significant amount and with the same efficiency.

Oh, by the way, President Obama stopped by and rocked the joint but we’ve talked about that in the previous edition of the paper.