About 8,500 delegates will arrive in Cincinnati Wednesday for the four-day annual conference of the National Urban League.
The event at the Duke Energy Convention Center will feature some well-known speakers – Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a potential Republican presidential candidate, on Friday.
The theme of this year’s annual conference is “One Nation Underemployed: Bridges to Jobs and Justice.”
National Urban League president Marc Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans, told WVXU that many of the conference sessions will focus on “the widening gap between the haves and the have nots, the widening income inequality challenge.”
“You’ve got two things going on,’’ said Morial, who has headed the civil rights organization since 2003. “One is high unemployment in many urban communities, particularly in African-American communities.
“Secondly, you’ve got this underemployment problem which is impacting communities across the board,’’ Morial said. “People who are working again, but they are working in jobs that pay less than they were making before the recession and in jobs that do not maximize their skills, talent and qualification.”
Morial will officially kick off the conference with a “State of the Urban League” address to delegates Wednesday evening.
The event will have a number of sessions and features open to the public, including the National Urban League Experience Expo Hall and the Career and Networking Fair. Health screenings, entertainment and athletic programming will also be available at the convention center’s Expo Hall.
Morial credited the president of the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, Donna Jones Baker, and former Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory for convincing the national organization to hold its annual conference here.
The Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the event will pump more than $2 million into the region’s economy.
You can find more information on the conference at the National Urban League website.