The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder & president, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Dr. Dorothy Height, chairman emeritus & founder, National Council of Negro Women will highlight a panel of civil rights leaders in a roundtable discussion about the future of Black America. This plenary session scheduled for Friday, July 29 at 10:45 a.m., is part of the upcoming National Urban League Annual Conference, which takes place in Washington, D.C. from July 27 to July 31. More than 15,000 Urban League members and supporters are expected to take part in this year’s convention, which will be held at the Washington Convention Center, under the theme, "Celebrating 95 Years of Empowering Communities and Changing Lives."

Panelists will also include Lezli Baskerville, Esq., President & Chief Executive Officer, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO); John Bryant, Founder, Chairman & Chief Operations Officer, Operation HOPE; Melanie L. Campbell, Executive Director, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Theodore M. Shaw, Esq., Director-Counsel & President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF); Kim Keenan, Esq., President, National Bar Association, and Senior Trial Attorney, Jack Olender & Associates; The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Co-founder & President Emeritus, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Chairman Emeritus Black Leadership Forum, Inc., and Convenor, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda (GCPA); and Reg Weaver, President, National Education Association (NEA). Joe Leonard, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Black Leadership Forum, Inc., will lead the discussion.

Civil Rights and Civic Engagement: A Call to Action panel will focus its discussion on what each individual leader believes should be the direction and/or focus of African-American organizations and leadership heading toward the year 2020. According to the census data, by the year 2020, one third of the country will be persons of color. The panel will begin dialogue to devise social, economic and political strategies to strengthen the voice of a more diverse culture.

Other scheduled events include plenary sessions featuring invited guests The Honorable Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator (NY) and Hugh Price, former President of the National Urban League; Dick Gregory, author and activist; Kevin Powell, Hip-Hop Historian and author; Bruce S. Gordon, President, NAACP; the Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor, City of Los Angeles; Andy Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Enterprise Rent-A-Car; and the Honorable Danny Davis, U.S. Representative, Illinois. Dr. H. Patrick Swygert, President, Howard University; Hazel R. O’Leary, President, Fisk University; and Dr. Norman E. Francis, President, Xavier University of New Orleans will be honored at the Whitney M. Young Jr. Gala Awards dinner on Saturday, July 30th.

More information about the National Urban League’s 2005 Annual Conference, registration, exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities is available on the League’s Web site at or by calling 800-263-9926.


National Urban League ( )

Established in 1910, The Urban League is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research.

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