Sunday, November 12, 2006
From The Chicago Sun-Times…
New Urban League chief reels in political stars
Obama, Durbin join in at annual fund-raiser
BY MONIFA THOMAS Staff Reporter
It pays to be on a first-name basis with the state’s top political figures.
Always one of the big social events of the year, the Chicago Urban League’s annual fund-raising dinner had an extra touch of star power Saturday, thanks in part to the connections of its new president.
Mayor Daley, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama were among the featured speakers at the league’s 45th annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, the first since Gov. Blagojevich’s former press secretary Cheryle Jackson became the first black woman to lead the 90-year-old organization.
Blagojevich was listed as a speaker but did not attend.
Jackson takes the reins at a time when the nation’s oldest civil rights groups are struggling to remain relevant.
Founded in 1916 to help African Americans who migrated to Chicago from the rural South, the Chicago Urban League currently has about 1,200 members. Jackson stressed the need for new membership in her remarks Saturday night.
‘Excited and thrilled’
Jackson, 41, appealed to members of her generation, who may have benefitted from the civil rights movement but did not participate in it, to commit their time and resources in reaching the organization’s goals, namely economic, educational and political advancement for African Americans.
“I am so excited and thrilled about the potential [of the Chicago Urban League] because it is huge,” Jackson told approximately 1,700 confirmed guests at the event, held this year at the Chicago Hilton on South Michigan.
Tickets sold for $600 each.
Durbin, in his remarks, gave Obama much of the credit for the Democrats’ success in last week’s midterm elections.
“There’s only one person in America that had more impact on that election, and he lives in the White House,” Durbin said, noting Obama’s cross-country campaigning for Democratic candidates.
[Click on the essay title above to learn more about the Chicago Urban League.]