DC Mayor, Vincent C. Gray along with Kwame Brown, Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia received awards last evening at the 39th Annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Memorial Gala presented by the National Urban League.
This year’s platform introduced the idea of celebrating Washington, DC’s diverse population, as a united community with the theme, “YOU, ME, WE….DC!”
Both men have been embattled in a series of alleged wrong doings ranging from questionable hiring practices to misuse of city-owned vehicles.
Mayor Gray, who campaigned under the phrase "One DC", has come under fire for his hiring practices that included one Sulaimon Brown, who allegedly was paid handsomely to discredit former Mayor Adrian Fenty during Gray's mayoral campaign.
In another staffing shakeup, Geri Mason Hall resigned as Gray's Chief of Staff. Hall was replaced by Paul Quander on an interim basis.
About the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award
Young, a U.S. civil rights leader who spearheaded the drive for equal opportunity for African Americans in U.S. industry and government service during his 10 years as head of the National Urban League (1961–71), the world’s largest social-civil rights organization. His advocacy of a “Domestic Marshall Plan”—massive funds to help solve America’s racial problems—was felt to have strongly influenced federal poverty programs sponsored by Democratic Party administrations in Washington (1963–69).
Other recipients of the 2011 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award included George Washington University (Gray's Alma Mater), Howard University and Sonia Gutierrez, founder and CEO of Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School.
Former recipients of the prestigious award include Vernon E. Jordan (Former National Urban League President, 1972 – 1981); Robert L. Johnson (Honorary Gala Chair, Founder and Chairman The RLJ Companies); Walter M. Oliver (General Gala Chair, Senior Vice President Human Resources and Administration, General Dynamics); and current current National Urban League President , Marc H. Morial.
Scholarships were awarded last evening by Charlotte Elizabeth Yancey Eights Trust, GWUL Thursday Network Young Professionals Auxiliary, Pepsi and Safeway/Western Union for local students.
Special guests included the National Urban League's President Marc H. Morial and Miss D.C. International, Chelsey Rodgers.
About The National Urban League
Now in its 72st year, the Greater Washington Urban League continues to provide a wide range of services including education, employment and training; health promotion; food and utility assistance and housing and community development that serve more than 65,000 persons each year. The mission of the League is "to increase the economic and political empowerment of African Americans and other minorities and to help all Americans share equally in the responsibilities and rewards of full citizenship”.
To accomplish its mission, the League uses the tools and methods of social work, economics, law and other disciplines to bring about equal opportunities and equal access to African Americans and minorities in the Washington metropolitan area. One of more than 100 affiliates of the National Urban League, the GWUL is a member agency of the United Way of the National Capital Area.
Whitney M. Young birthplace a historical landmark.