The Chicago Urban League is pleased to announce its Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award and Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award honorees for the 56th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner benefit gala. The highly anticipated event will take place Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Hilton Chicago located at 720 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

This year, the coveted “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award will be presented to James D. Montgomery, Sr., noted civil rights attorney and community activist. The Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award will be presented to Senator Emil Jones, Jr., progressive legislator, and long-time proponent of social justice and fair funding of public education.

Senator Emil Jones, Jr.

Named for Bill Berry, CEO of the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and key activist in the Civil Rights Movement, the award is given annually to leaders who make a mark locally and nationally through hard work, perseverance and creativity.

The Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award is named for long-time CPA, Accounting firm Principal and Chicago Urban League Lifetime Board Director Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Created in 2016, this award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of life for African Americans in Chicago through volunteerism and embodies excellence through community service.

“The Golden Fellowship Dinner continues to be a driving force that fuels our mission to make a stronger African American community and a better Chicago,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “We are excited to continue the legacy of presenting the Bill Berry Award and creating a new tradition with the Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award.”

Previous Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Award awardees include businessman and publisher John H. Johnson (posthumously), noted Chicago historian, activist, and philanthropist Timuel Black, legendary opera diva Jessye Norman, civil rights activists Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Rev. Willie T. Barrow, Hank R. Schwab, and Rev. Addie L. Wyatt; legendary actors Louis Gossett, Jr., Phylicia Rashad and Cicely Tyson; and most recently, Spencer Leak, Sr., owner and president of Leak & Sons Funeral Homes.

This year’s gala, themed “Beyond 100: Together We Matter,” highlights the League’s entrance into its second century of service to Chicago’s African American community. It will be headlined by 11-time Grammy winner, Songwriter Hall Of Fame inductee artist/producer/songwriter Kenny “Babyface’ Edmonds and is co-chaired by Jim Kolar, Central Market Managing Partner of PwC and Stephen Beard, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc.

For more information about the Chicago Urban League’s 56th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, contact Karen Coleman at 773-451-3526 or visit http://www.TheChicagoUrbanLeague.org.

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