Reflections on the National Urban League’s Path to Power – Part II


Conference certificationworkshop presenters Lois White, Althea Taylor, Christine Bowden, Deon Crayton, and Shondra Watson. (Photo: Shelia Hester-Whorton)

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– “Roll up your sleeves and work night and day to get America up and running again.”

“Everybody is in and nobody is left out in America.”

These words echoed through the sanctuary and overflow of Apostolic Church of God, as Governor Quinn spoke to an estimated crowd of 5500, welcoming the National Urban League to the State of Illinois. “Stay as long as you want and spend money!”

As Marc H. Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League concluded his State of Urban League Address, he emphasized that “we must tear down barriers of equal opportunities for cities throughout the nation. We stand on the doorstep of our second century. As we prepare for our centennial, our next century cannot be about the past, but about the future. We have to take our empowerment agenda to the next level.”

Emphasizing that the National Urban League must combine its’ efforts with organizations of shared visions, Morial stated “the cost of doing nothing is far greater then the cost of doing something.”

Each morning of the conference started with a fitness workout with trainers Sean & Maria Armstead. On Thursday, July 30th the conference held its first full day of seminars, concurrent workshops, plenary sessions, and career fair. Nearly 100 companies were represented at the career fair, some of which provided on the spot interviews. The career fair also included workshops on positioning yourself for success and job hunting online.

Among the numerous workshops held on Thursday:

  • The Emerging Green Economy, which provided insight on the green economy and what it means for today’s workforce;
  • Restore Our Homes: Saving Our Communities, which provided information about the resources available in counseling and refinancing to prevent foreclosure, restore our homes, and build our communities;
  • The Pledge of Allegiance to Diversity, which discussed the groundbreaking research in the recently released “Diversity Practices that Work: The American Worker Speaks II” study;
  • Empowering Your Business to the Next Level Part I, where entrepreneurs learned about finance, cash flow management valuation, and exit strategies; and
  • Empowering Your Business to the Next Level Part 2 – Inside the Entrepreneur’s Mind, where business owners learned what it takes in terms of personal character, business savvy, technical skill, and “street sense” to be a success.

The conference also featured a workshop presented by emerging local business professionals such as Althea Taylor of Taylor Made Industries, Shonda E. Watson of the Chicago Minority Business Development Council, Lois White of the Joseph Center, Christine Bowden of the McCormick Chamber of Commerce, and Deon Crayton of the Women’s Business Development Center. This workshop provided in-depth information about various certifications available throughout the State of Illinois. Among these are Minority Business Enterprise, Disadvantage Business Enterprise, Cook County Certification, Small Business Administration 8(a), and HubZone Certification.

The Young Professional Summit luncheon featured CNN special correspondent, Roland Martin, and plenary session II – The State of Black America, was moderated by CNN Special Correspondent, Soledad O’Brien.

A special town hall meeting, “Foster Care In America” addressed the increased number of African American children in foster care and submitted a “call to action for our children” to address the foster care crisis. While African American children represent 15% of the child population in the United States, they represent 34% of children in foster care. This workshop addressed “how to can raise a hand for children in foster care, raise awareness with friends and family, and raise our voices to policymakers.”

The first full day of the conference came to an end with the Young Professionals Summit welcome reception, and a pre-concert VIP Reception

The evening of the conference concluded with a benefit concert featuring Grammy nominated R&B singers En Vogue, with comedian Jonathan Slocumb.

In the next article we will highlight Vice President Biden, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and other panelists who contributed to the wealth of information shared at the conference.

The National Urban League was established 99 years ago with the mission to enable African Americans to secure economic self reliance, parity, power and civil rights. The National Urban League was originally named the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, and established on September 29th, 1910 in New York City. The National Urban League served 2 million people in 2008. For more information about the National Urban League visit www.nul.org.

For 92 years the Chicago Urban League has been a leader in promoting sustainable change in the African American community through education, advocacy, research, and civic engagement in the Chicago land area.For more information about the Chicago Urban League Conference visit www.changeyoucansee.com