Special message from Nancy Flake Johnson, ULGA President and CEO
Like many of you, my heart ached when I heard the sorrowful cries of Freddy Gray as he was arrested and dragged to a police van for what seems to be the “crime” of running in fear away from the police who’d caught his eye on a Baltimore street. In the aftermath of his death — including the lack of explanation of how he sustained a fatal spine injury while in police custody and the ensuing protests and riots – news organizations and social media have once again focused on issues of police-community relations in communities of color. In this case, the conversation also has elevated issues of poverty and class in ways that recent cases in Missouri, New York, Florida, Oklahoma and California failed to do.
Most of the recent, high-profile incidents of black men dying while involved with police are tied to historically “powerless” groups of people and their communities. In too many cases, the men who have been killed were either unemployed or marginally employed – or they were very young black men who had been deemed instant suspects because of their color and youth.
Here at the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, we are deeply committed to addressing and changing this dynamic. Not only do we help people acquire training and education and introduce them to job opportunities, but we also promote civic activism and community involvement, and we seek to hold people in power accountable. Our programs empower men, women and youth to take the lead in determining how their lives and communities grow – politically, economically and culturally – and to embrace their responsibility to have a hand in altering their lives.
Historically, the Urban League’s mission has centered on equal opportunity and financial stability for vulnerable communities. This work is more important than ever if our country is to move into the future with a workforce that can sustain our status as the world’s most powerful. Each of our citizens must have a fair shake at a high-quality education, job opportunity, entrepreneurship, housing, financial stability and equal justice under the law.
We have a long way to go to reform our criminal justice system to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and to slough off the historical prejudices and biases that have held far too many people back. We must renew our resolve to work with people in struggling communities, to insist that everyone is treated with dignity – and to END the violence and institutional barriers that rob too many people of their chance to step into lives of contribution and promise.
Join us in this vital mission. Thank you.
Join Us-Become Part of The Movement
The Urban League has various ways you can become a member. Our auxilaries provide the perfect fit for you to plug into and empower yourself and your community. Click the organization titles to learn more about our each organization.
When the Urban League calls…The Guild Answers! The ULGA-Guild is the civic engagement and fundraising arm of the League. Connect and serve with Atlanta’s finest.
ULGA-YP is comprised of professionals under 40 across metro Atlanta who are dedicated to serving their local communities through social and community activism.