The National Urban League president and CEO carried this emphatic message to the civil rights organization’s members at its first in-person conference held since 2019 due to a virulent pandemic
By Derek T. Dingle | July 27, 2022
Marc Morial went to Washington, D.C., with a mission last week: To stop the “vigorous backlash” from the conservative right to repeal the progress realized by African Americans and other marginalized groups in the 20th century.
The National Urban League president and CEO carried this emphatic message to the civil rights organization’s members at its first in-person conference held since 2019 due to a virulent pandemic that sidelined such public events over the past two years. (The conference had a virtual component as well.)
The battleground issues, Morial asserted during an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, represented a “clear and present danger to civil rights and democracy,” ranging from voter suppression and women’s reproductive rights to Critical Race Theory and rising gun violence and driven by actions by state legislatures as well as the Supreme Court.
Moreover, Morial focused on what he calls the “fascist coup to overthrow the government” during the assault on Capitol Hill inspired by former President Trump and under congressional review during the recent Jan. 6 hearings.
Against this backdrop, Morial says the NUL structured this year’s conference to dissect such contentious areas, define rules of engagement and discuss strategies to combat the wave of measures to “bring down the curtain on this generation’s Reconstruction Era.”
Sessions focused on the status of social justice, Black wealth building, corporate board diversity, and digital equity, among others. Morial also galvanized attendees to participate in an event kick-off rally on civil rights, hate crimes, women’s rights, and economic justice at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Among the speakers were members of the Biden administration, including a special fireside chat featuring Vice President Kamala Harris, who used her candid, one-on-one session with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to stress to the audience that there was a bit more than 100 days before voters went to the polls for the midterm races.