Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Whitney M. Young Gala hosted by the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) at the Marriott Wardman Park. I had always heard about the event and planned on volunteering in the past but was never able to attend for one reason or another, until this year.
As a board member of the young professional auxiliary group of the GWUL, I was fortunate enough to attend this wonderful event which costs the general public $350, for the low cost of FREE. It was a great opportunity to interact with other members of the Urban League as well as prominent figures in the Washington, DC community, as well as those who are nationally and even internationally known.
The night began with a Silent Auction and guests were treated to a lavish assortment of hors d’oeuvres and a delicious sparkling cocktail (Prosecco, Chambord, and raspberries). In true DC form, we were welcomed into the Grand Ballroom by an old go-go band, the Northeast Groovers, who played their rendition of some current Top 40 songs. Who even knew they were still around, they were hot when I was in high school in the 90s. The room was beautifully decorated and it was nice to see so many African-Americans who have a desire to empower our community through their support of the Urban League and its activities.
The event honored three individuals for their achievement in different arenas; those awarded were Chuck Brown (Godfather of Go-Go), James Brown (Sportscaster) and Virginia Ali (wife of the late-Ben Ali founder and owner of DC landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl). In attendance, there were several local politicians including everyone’s favorite former mayor of DC, Marion Barry (I’m sitting here laughing, but I won’t provide any comments), Dr. Dorothy I. Height (past President of the National Council of Negro Women and a past National President of Delta Sigma Theta), and Marc Morial (President of the National Urban League, former Mayor of New Orleans, and keynote speaker for the evening). Even Omarosa, yeah everyone’s favorite from The Apprentice, showed her face.
All in all the event was well put together and I look forward to going next year.
A little background on the event…For those who don’t know, each affiliate of the National Urban League hosts a Whitney M. Young Memorial Gala or event each March in memory of Whitney M. Young, Jr. Mr. Young was the Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 until his untimely death in 1971. He worked tirelessly as a visionary advocate for equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans, and he garnered national respect as an outstanding bridge builder among individuals of every race, culture, religion, gender and economic back- ground. Under his dynamic leadership, the Urban League moved into the forefront of the civil rights movement of the ’60’s. The gala serves as one of Greater Washington Urban League’s major fundraisers and a vehicle for communicating the priorities and programs of the Greater Washington Urban League.