Later today, it will be my privilege to welcome ten thousand members of the Urban League to the National Urban League’s annual conference at America’s Center. Students of history know that the Urban League’s founding mission was to help immigrants from the rural south — the vast majority of them African-American — adapt to life in the cities at the beginning of the 20th Century. Those challenges —education, employment, political power, and social parity — were formidable then and, despite tremendous strides across the spectrum, remain in many forms even today. Hence, the continuing need for the Urban League.
The Urban League has never been an organization that sat around and waited for something to happen. Its members tend to throw their considerable energies into programs and solutions to alleviate the problems they observe. This year — one in which the National Urban League hopes to call attention to the economic and educational disparity between white and black males in America the Urban League is stressing universal early childhood education programs, new models for public schools in urban areas, and greater funding for youth summer jobs programs.
This is an agenda that I strongly support. And I look forward to talking to the Urban League about the City’s efforts in each of those areas.