Cause For Celebration
February 22, 2010 11:38 AM
Last Friday I had the chance to stop by the grand opening of the new Urban League offices in the renovated Villager Mall on Park Street. It was a packed and happy event. The new offices incorporate an economic development center that was the brainchild of Urban League board member Dr. Charles Taylor. The City of Madison helped out with $1 million in support.
It was appropriate to have this event during Black History Month because there is no more American story than the story of African Americans. We think of ourselves as a nation where anybody who works hard and plays by the rules can get ahead. Well, African Americans worked hard and played by the rules only to find that they needed to work harder and play by more rules than anyone else. But theirs is a story of persistence, and today an African American who worked hard is President of the United States.
The problem is that this is not nearly the end of the story. Barack Obama's success is historic but it won't be complete until everyone who works hard achieves the success they have earned. The Urban League recognizes that, and so its new home isn't just about some beautiful bricks and mortar. It's about belief in the community and commitment to the very American idea that our system can work. For a people who have been given so many reasons to believe otherwise, this is truly cause for celebration and hope.