Mark H. Morial urges diversity, celebrates Urban League of Greater Chattanooga's 30th anniversary

Mark H. Morial urges diversity, celebrates Urban League of Greater Chattanooga's 30th anniversary

October 25th, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in Business Around the Region

Keynote speaker Mark H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, center, speaks with Howard School principal Paul Smith, left, and senior classman Rashad Brummitt at the Chattanooga Convention Center early Wednesday.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

AWARDS

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga presented awards to three individuals and business representatives for their work toward civil rights, social justice and diversity in the workforce.

* Inclusion by Design Award -- Jimmy Winton, manager of UPS in Chattanooga, accepted the Inclusion by Design Award for the company's support of diversity in the workforce.

* Community Impact Award -- Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Edd Wilson accepted the Community Impact Award for the Chamber's role in recruiting Volkswagen, Alstom and Amazon to Chattanooga.

* Whitney M. Young Jr. Award -- The Rev. Paul McDaniel, pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church, received the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. McDaniel is a former Hamilton County commissioner.

Inclusion of all people in the workforce allows for the greatest pool of talent and economic success for a city, but such diversity doesn't happen by serendipity, said Marc H. Morial.

The National Urban League president and CEO said businesses need to actively pursue workplace diversity. Morial spoke at the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga's 30th annual anniversary celebration and Equal Opportunity Day Breakfast attended by about 500 community leaders on Wednesday.

"It's impressive to be in a community where 500 people beat the roosters and came out for a breakfast this morning," said Morial, a former New Orleans mayor and former Louisiana state senator.

The financial goal of the event is to raise a minimum of $50,000 for local Urban League programs, said Warren Logan, CEO and president of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.

Board Chairwoman Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson said the Urban League has helped African-Americans and other minorities gain economic self-reliance for more than a century.

"Today this mission of empowerment is the same, but it is implemented on a much broader scale," he said. "We service the community regardless of your race, your color, your ethnicity, or your religion."

The local Urban League has served more than 7,000 people in the past year through its education, financial stability, entrepreneurship, and health and quality-of-life programs. It was established in Chattanooga in 1982.

"The 30th anniversary of anything is really a special accomplishment," said Logan. "It's really a privilege to have the president and CEO of the National Urban League here."

Morial commended Logan for his operation of the local Urban League and for his strategy to make the workforce more inclusive.

Logan has built one of the best Urban League affiliates in the country by focusing primarily on economic empowerment and education. Those are the tools needed to implement inclusion by design, Morial said.

Inclusion in communities just doesn't happen. It happens because leaders in the public and private sector intentionally focus on inclusion because they understand that it is an economically and socially stronger community, Morial said.

Inclusion by design requires education, he said. Any investment in education is an investment in children and human beings. No society in the history of time has ever gone wrong by putting too much money or too much attention into its young people, he said.

The second strategy to having an inclusive community is fostering economic development. The Urban League seeks to create jobs and build up small businesses. If one out of three small businesses earning $5 billion or less in revenue hired just one person, America would be at full employment, Morial said.