by Brandi Richard
Peering over my notes at the National Urban League (NUL) General Leadership Luncheon, I acknowledged the presence of my pastor and keynote for the luncheon, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church. I said something like, “I bring you greetings on behalf of our 57 chapters across the country and on behalf of my pastor who will be providing the keynote.” Pastor Haynes also participated in a Young Professional Men’s Round Table on men being men.
This year’s National Urban League conference in New Orleans, LA was a homecoming for NUL President and CEO Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans. The conference also welcomed the President of the United States who announced the White House initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. President Obama called it “an important endeavor that will highlight the barriers and challenges to African-American educational achievement, and develop solutions to improve outcomes.
Visiting New Orleans also marked the great leadership of Greater New Orleans Urban League Affiliate CEO, Nolan Rollins. President Rollins once led the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP), which I now lead. Rollins, a prolific speaker and servant, most notably shut Twitter’s servers down after his comment about the city of New Orleans. He remarked, “New Orleans is like a Polaroid picture: we develop from the negative.”
The 2012 conference included informative workshops, a career fair and important business meetings for the National Urban League and its auxiliaries. The National Council of Urban League Guilds celebrated their 70th year of service with Dallas’ own Guild President Patricia Mims leading serving as chair of the national reception event. NULYP hosted its Occupy the Vote kickoff at the House of Blues sponsored by Marriott where they shared their OTV video campaign and plan to increase national voter turnout.
We were also happy to utilize the services of The Design Factory to produce our NULYP annual report, which received rave reviews from the conference attendees. I was most impressed with our results. Our 57 chapters nationwide raised over $382,000 (178% increase over 2011) and donated over 50,000 volunteer hours (51% increase over 2011) for local affiliates. Local Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals President Matt Houston was honored as a Distinguished President, leading his chapter to support Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks and the local affiliate throughout the year.
The 2012 National Urban League conference was my first conference as president of the organization and I am excited about next year’s conference in Philadelphia, PA. It is clear that Dallas will once again be well-represented. For more information on the National Urban League Young Professionals, the local Dallas chapter or our Occupy the Vote effort, visit www.nulyp.net or www.iamempowered.com. Kamilah Collins of Dallas serves as the NULYP Communications Chair and wrote a feature article in the NUL feature in Think Positive Magazine, which was distributed at conference.