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Noteworthy and newsworthy folks – perhaps even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama – come this way along with some 10,000 other attendees and visitors from across the country for the 2009 National Urban Conference, &l

Noteworthy and newsworthy folks – perhaps even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama – come this way along with some 10,000 other attendees and visitors from across the country for the 2009 National Urban Conference, “The Path to Power,” July 29 – Aug. 1 at McCormick Place Convention Center. On the A-list: Terrence Howard, Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ne-Yo, EnVogue, MTV’s Sway, Yung Joc, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Stevie Wonder, Camille Edwards, Michael Steele, Benjamin T. Jealous, Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Soledad O’Brien, Gwen Ifill, Tyra Banks, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Michael Lomax, Alexis Hermann, Magic Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cong. Barbara Lee and others.

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(l) The Obamas (r) Terrence Howard

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(l) Tracie Ellis Ross (r) Cheryle Jackson

The Chicago Urban League, led by Cheryle Jackson, president and CEO, hosts the three-and-a-half days of stimulating workshops, sessions and plenaries, networking opportunities and a free career fair and exhibit hall – all designed to offer strategies to “survive & thrive” and to provide tools to steer attendees to their personal Path to Power. There’ll also be parties, concerts and other events planned to assure a meaningful time is had by all! Convention hotels: Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton.

Morial, Marc_1.jpg Marc Morial

Among just some of the convention highlights:

  • July 29, 6 p.m., State of the Urban League keynote address by Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, Apostolic Church of God; 8 p.m., Welcome Reception hosted by the Chicago Urban League, Tracee Ellis Ross and Terrence Howard at the Field Museum with performances by Ne-Yo and Yung Joc
  • July 30, 8:30 p.m., benefit concert featuring En Vogue, Grammy nominated R&B singers and bona fide divas, Chicago Theatre
  • July 31, 8:30 a.m., Plenary Session, featured speaker, President Barack Obama (invited); noon, National Council of Urban League Guilds Leadership Luncheon, featured speaker, First Lady Michelle Obama (invited); 8:30 p.m., Cultural Night, CNN and Essence: “Reclaiming the Dream,” a red carpet premiere of the highly anticipated TV special at the Chicago Theater followed by a panel discussion moderated by Soledad O’Brien
  • Aug. 1, noon, Women of Power Awards Luncheon honoring Jada Pinkett Smith, Gwen Ifill, Valerie Jarrett, Eunice Johnson and Judge Penny Brown; 7:30 p.m., Whitney Young Jr. Awards Gala, honoring Emil Jones Jr., Tyra Banks, Mayor Richard Daley and Stevie Wonder.

Of course, a number of local celebs are listed among conference speakers, panelists, etc., including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Sen. James Meeks, Bishop Arthur Brazier Ill., Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Chris Gardner, Amy Hilliard, State Rep. Will Burns, Erwin McEwen, Frank Clark, Wayne Watson, Hedy Ratner, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and the Rev. Stephen Thurston.

The Urban League conference represents the largest and widest cross-section gathering of African-American professionals in the nation, including some of the most influential leaders in the corporate, foundation, nonprofit, entertainment and political communities. The Exhibit Hall, open to the public, is where dozens of the nation’s most dynamic Fortune 500 companies take advantage of the opportunity to exhibit their products and services. It will also include a free health fair, art expo and vendors’ marketplace. Call (773) 285- 5800 or visit www.nul.org/2009annualconference.html.

Blue Monday – Reginald “Hats” Adams, director of Rush University Medical Center’s Dept. of Community Affairs; Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois State Treasurer; and Nancy (Mrs. Lester) McKeever, civic, cultural and philanthropic icon, receive special honors when the Westside Association for Community Action celebrates “38 years of service to the Chicagoland community” on July 13, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., during its annual Blue Monday Extravaganza at the Chicago Yacht Club, located at Lake Michigan and Monroe.

McKeever__Nancy.jpg Nancy (Mrs. Lester) McKeever

Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T Illinois, chairs the popular fundraiser, now in its 23rd year, which features dancing, a lavish buffet and a silent auction of exciting items and services. Sponsoring the benefit evening: WACA’s Board of Directors, headed by Janet Jones, of Janet Jones & Associates Inc., president; W. “Bill” Williams, of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, vice president; Michael Lieteau, of AT&T, vice president; Howard Patton, treasurer; Connie Harris, of Lakeside Bank, secretary; Michael Fountain, of the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, parliamentarian; and Ernest R. Jenkins, founder and CEO.

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