Tyra Banks And Others Honored By Urban League
by Mark Morial, Black Star News
Five outstanding individuals and an Urban League affiliate were honored last month by the National Urban League at its
annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards, in Chicago, for their service to America and to the ideals of the Urban League movement.
This year’s awardees were: Chicago mayor, Richard M. Daley; former Illinois State Senator, Emil Jones; New Ventures CEO, Alexis Herman; TV producer and supermodel, Tyra Banks; long-time National Urban League Trustee, Robert J. Brown; and the Urban League of Philadelphia.
I presented the first annual “National Urban League President’s Award” to Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley. Since first taking office in 1989, Mayor Daley has been re-elected five times and has become one of the most powerful and caring big city mayors in America. He has been a passionate voice for the people of America’s urban cities and his efforts to improve public education are often cited as a model for the nation.
His former Education Superintendent, Arne Duncan, was tapped by President Obama to be Secretary of Education.
The Urban League of Philadelphia and its dynamic President and CEO, Patricia Coulter received the “Leadership Award,” for their extraordinary efforts to eradicate racial inequality in the City of Brotherly Love.
In recent years the Philadelphia affiliate has involved the City’s citizens in a groundbreaking dialogue on race and has conducted “Empowerment Week” to shine a spotlight on issues of diversity and inclusion.
The “Charles Collins Award,” named after the National Urban League’s esteemed former senior Vice Chairman, was presented to Robert J. Brown, Chairman CEO of B C Associates, for his extensive civic leadership and long-time service as a National Urban League Trustee.
Our “Living Legend” awardees included, former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, who is now President, CEO of New Ventures, a company which helps major corporations improve workplace diversity.
Other Living Legend honorees were Emil Jones, an African American pioneer in Chicago politics and the former President of the
Illinois State Senate; and the Emmy Award winning talk show producer and host, Tyra Banks, who spoke eloquently about her desire to raise the self-esteem of African American girls and expand the concept of beauty throughout society.
The evening was capped by the launch of the National Urban League’s Centennial Celebration and Campaign, which officially kicks off early next year. The Centennial Campaign will secure the signatures of 8 million people pledging to join with us to achieve four empowerment goals by the year 2025:
Every American child is ready for college, work and life. Every American has access to a decent job with a living wage.
Every American is free from barriers to safe, decent, affordable and energy efficient housing…at fair terms.
Every American has access to quality and affordable health care solutions. Many thanks to all the sponsors and attendees at this year’s conference. We look forward to our biggest conference ever in 2010 as the National Urban League celebrates its 100th anniversary.