USA Network and Tom Brokaw announced today the first-ever Characters Unite National Town Hall, a ground-breaking high-level discussion on how America’s increasingly diverse and divided population can find common ground on today’s complex social issues.  Inspired by USA Network’s community affairs campaign – Characters Unite — this event will bring together a diverse panel of distinguished leaders to generate fresh ideas for actions by individuals, communities and government to overcome social injustices and bridge cultural divides. Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, will moderate the panel at the Newseum in Washington, DC, on December 2.


Confirmed Town Hall participants include:

  • Mike Allen, Chief White House Correspondent, Politico
  • The Honorable Xavier Becerra, Representative, California
  • The Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor, Newark, NJ
  • The Honorable Max Cleland, Secretary, American Battle Monuments Commission
  • Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
  • Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
  • Jon Bon Jovi, Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist
  • David Mixner, Writer and Civil Rights Activist
  • Kathleen Parker, Syndicated Columnist
  • Chancellor Michelle Rhee, DC Public Schools
  • Dr. Christine Sierra, Professor of Political Science, University of New Mexico


Actor Dulé Hill, co-star of USA Network’s “Psych” will also be a special guest in attendance.


“It’s time to get past the labeling.  We’re all different, and we all bring something unique to the table,” said Bonnie Hammer, president, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions.  “We need our differences to unite us, not drive us apart.”

“People across the country are making tough decisions every day and working to maintain their own unique American character. Too often, instead of coming together to address conflicts, groups demonize each other because of their different beliefs and opinions,” said Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent.

During the Characters Unite Town Hall, Brokaw will preview his new documentary, American Character Along Highway 50, produced by Peacock Productions, set to premiere on USA Network on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2010. The film follows Brokaw’s journey at a pivotal point in our country’s history as he travels across legendary US Highway 50 discovering how Americans are fairing during these extraordinary times, immersing himself in the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people to reveal uniquely American stories of hardship,  survival and hope.

“Tom Brokaw’s upcoming documentary makes him the ideal moderator for this conversation,” said Hammer. “We’re confident that he will steer the Town Hall toward fresh ideas for individual and collective actions aimed at bringing all of us, with the combined strength of our diversity, together.”

In conjunction with the Town Hall, USA Network will announce the results of a new Characters Unite national opinion poll, the United or Divided Survey, which will provide an in-depth profile of American attitudes on prejudice, discrimination and intolerance.   The nationally representative poll is being conducted by two of America‘s leading public opinion research firms representing both sides of the political aisle — Hart Research Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R).  The survey will examine how Americans view the social trends that are transforming the nation, and will look across generations, race, ethnicity and gender at how change is affecting our country’s social fabric.

In partnership with Charter and Comcast, high schools across the country will have the opportunity to submit questions for the panel and five students will win a trip to Washington, DC, to attend the Town Hall event.


Cisco Webex Solutions will serve as the technology partner for the Characters Unite National Town Hall. The event will be webcast live for free, and viewers may register in advance at

Following the Town Hall, the first Characters Unite Award will be presented to an individual who has made a significant and lasting difference in efforts to fight discrimination, champion civil rights and promote respect. The honoree will be profiled on and receive a $10,000 grant to support his/her project or nonprofit organization. Nominations for the award are being made by the Characters Unite campaign’s 20 non-governmental partners, which include the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Parent Teacher Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Council of La Raza, GLAAD, National Council of Women’s Organizations, American Federation of Teachers, Anti-Defamation League, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Asian American Justice Center, Children’s Defense Fund, General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Association of Counties, National Congress of American Indians, National Education Association and Southern Poverty Law Center.


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