Reflections on the National Urban League’s Path to Power


Cheryle R. Jackson, President & CEO Chicago Urban League, with Urban League volunteers. (Photo: Shelie Hester-Whorton)

First in a Series of Articles Exploring the National Urban League’s Path to Power

By Shelia M. Hester-Whorton, MPA

eNews Park Forest will explore on the National Urban League’s Annual Conference, providing our readers with valuable information that may assist them in their personal and professional paths to power.

Filled with an array of workshops, speakers, networking, and 3 plenary sessions, the conference left its message of hope, empowerment, and responsibility to thousands of attendees from over the country. The Conference was held from July 29 to August 1, and included a career fair with on the spot interviewing.

This was the first time the Conference was held in Chicago in over 30 years. According to James R. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chicago Urban League President and” CEO Cheryle R. Jackson made a strong case and worked endlessly to bring the Conference back to Chicago”.

The conference kicked off as an estimated 5500 attendees filled the sanctuary and overflow of Apostolic Church of God as Marc H. Morial, National Urban League President & CEO, presented the State of the Urban League Address.

“We must leave our narrow confines of civil rights for African Americans and speak for all America” stated Morial.

Morial outlined the Urban League’s 2025 Empowerment Goals and call to action as follow:

  • To ensure that every child be ready for college, work, and life.
  • To ensure that every American has access to a good job with a living wage
  • To ensure that every American is free from barriers to safe, decent, affordable and energy efficient housing
  • To ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable healthcare solutions

One highlight of the program was a presentation by 15-year-old DeMarco Diggs, a student at King College Preparatory. Diggs gave credit to Cheryle R. Jackson and the Chicago Urban League for his best experiences. In a spirited speech Diggs addressed how youth are often thought of in a negative light. “I’m here to prove that this is not true of all of us. We are bold, outstanding, and creative. We need support form our adults not people to put us down.”

The evening concluded with a welcome reception hosted by the Chicago Urban League and actors/entertainers Tracee Ellis Ross and Terrance Howard at the Field Museum.

In the next article we will reflect on Conferences workshops and seminars, providing our readers with valuable information to enhance their careers, small businesses, and health.