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Urban League celebrates 70th anniversary at largest luncheon

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From left are Richard “Dick” Rosenthal, former president and owner of F&W Publishing Corp., Patricia Meadows, retired executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton; Morleen “Moe” Rouse, retired University of Cincinnati professor and founder of Mannequin Charity boutique; and Dr. Ralph Brown, retired government supervisory veterinary medical officer for the USDA. At far right is Cara Fisher Jackson, Urban League interim president and CEO. Photos by Joseph Fuqua II

By Jenell Walton

Urban League of Southwest Ohio

It was the largest crowd ever to attend an Urban League luncheon in the organization’s 70-year history last Friday during the Annual Luncheon and Glorifying the Lions Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Cincinnati. The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio kicked off its 70th Anniversary year with recognition of the 2019 Lion honorees and transformational partners, a keynote address by retired Urban League President and CEO Donna Jones Baker, and special remarks by Urban League Interim President and CEO Chara Fisher Jackson.

Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld presents Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio retiring president and CEO Donna Jones Baker with a proclamation during the 70th Anniversary Luncheon. Photos by Photo by Joseph Fuqua II

Special guests included retired Greater Cincinnati Urban League President and CEO Sheila Adams, retired Dayton Urban League President Willie Walker and City Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld, who presented Baker with a proclamation from the city of Cincinnati. Local 12 Anchor Kyle Inskeep served as master of ceremony.

Members of the Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance group escort Lion honorees and special guests to their seats at the Urban League 70th Anniversary Luncheon. Photo by Photos by Joseph Fuqua II

Drummers dressed in African attire escorted the Lion honorees to their seat. This year’s honorees are:

  • Ralph Brown, retired government supervisory veterinary medical officer for the USDA.
  • Patricia Meadows, a retired executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton.
  • Richard “Dick” Rosenthal, former president and owner of F&W Publishing Corp. Rosenthal also endowed the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice in 2014, which has been instrumental in the release of 24 innocent people wrongly convicted in Ohio since 1994.
  • Morleen “Moe” Rouse, retired educator, communication consultant, community volunteer and founder of Mannequin Charity boutique.

Baker congratulated this year’s honorees and thanked the community for supporting the Urban League during her 15-year tenure as president and CEO. Baker says she is proud of the League’s publication of “The State of Black Cincinnati in 2015” and “The State of Black Dayton’’ in 2017, as well as the expansion of the agency to Dayton.

“I am proud that we have grown the Urban League from a budget of $2.5 million in 2003 to a $6 million-plus budget today, from a staff of 25 to a staff of about 60 today,” Baker said.

The Urban League also thanked Transformational Partners who made a gift of $50,000 or more to the agency in 2018 including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Fifth Third Bank, KeyBank, Mercy Health, Procter & Gamble and UC Health.

Urban League of Southwestern Ohio staff poses for this group photo at the 70th anniversary luncheon. Photo by Photos by Joseph Fuqua II

The League launched its 70th Anniversary Campaign during the luncheon to raise $70,000 to support the League’s various programs.

“Money raised during the yearlong effort will go toward job training, business development, and entrepreneurship and advocacy programs,” Jackson explained.

For information on how you can get involved or to make a donation, visit www.ulgso.org/donate.

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio is the parent corporation for the Greater Cincinnati Urban League and Miami Valley Urban League. Its mission is to transform generations by promoting personal empowerment and economic self-sufficiency.

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