The Austin Area Urban League held its 39th Equal Opportunity Day Gala on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Downtown Hilton. As supporter Joya Hayes said of the event, it was “a great opportunity to bring together the movers and shakers of the African American Community in Austin.” The gala’s theme was, Education: The Roadmap to Empowerment.
The annual gala is the Urban League’s primary fundraiser. Proceeds go into programs like workforce training, neighborhood preservation, home-buyer education and academic advancement.
Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross and Ashley Goudeau of KVUE-24 TV were the masters of ceremony. Nick Clark’s band Family Verve provided music throughout the evening. The attendees, dressed in gowns and tuxedos, sang the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” After a welcome message from Urban League President and CEO Teddy McDaniel, Board Chair Valerie Hill presented awards.
Whether you particular interest is education, community preservation, or job training, Mr. McDaniel says, the Austin Area Urban League “looks forward to helping Austin become a better place to live for all.”
The Urban League looks forward to helping Austin become a better place to live for all.
For its commitment to serving vulnerable populations and effective engagement with our community, Cenpatico, a healthcare management company, received the corporate leadership award. The Whitney M. Young Award went to thoracic surgeon Dr. Reginald C. Baptiste for his work in both private practice and as the Director of the pre-health professions program at Dell Medical School.
Education expert Dr. Steve Perry delivered the keynote address. His message, full of humor and conviction, was a fervent call to action. Perry, who is also a writer and contributor to both CNN and MSNBC, founded Capital Preparatory Magnet school in 2005 in Hartford, Conn. U.S. News and World Report has called the institution one of the best schools in the country. He opened, with music artist Sean “Diddy” Combs, a second Capital Preparatory charter school in Harlem this year.
Dr. Perry believes charters are only a tiny part of the answer to what ails the current education system. He proposes school choice facilitated by a 100-percent voucher program as a more far-reaching solution, but emphasized that we must all work to ensure our children have high quality schools from which to choose.
Visit the Urban League’s website for more information about the organization and its programs.