The Urban League of Kansas announced a stellar group of honorees to be recognized at the organization’s Equal Opportunity Dinner to be held Thurs., May 26 at the Holiday Inn, Kellogg and Rock Road. 

The 2016 award recipients were selected based on their empowerment work with youth and include:

Diversity Award — Dillions Food Stores

Whitney M. Young Award — Debbie Kennedy, President and CEO of the Wichita Children’s Home

Small Business Award — Willie Kendrick, Wil-Ken Enterprises (Popeyes Chicken Franchisee)

Community Advocate Award — Cynthia Martinez, Director of USD 259’s Homeless Education Program

Emerging Leader Award — Careem Gladney, Cargill and Real Men Real Heroes Volunteer. 

The theme for this year’s dinner is “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow: Empowering Our Youth.” The keynote speaker will be Richard Harris, a well-known motivational speaker and local pastor. He is also the director of Wichita State’s (TRIO) North GEAR Up program. Harris is a staunch advocate for urban youth, promoting education and character building as an alternative to the senseless violence that plagues many urban communities. 

Doors open at 6 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, the dinner and program will begin at 7 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Wichita’s own, Riccardo Harris. Mr. Harris is well-known as a motivational speaker and local pastor. 

Tickets are available for $100 each and may be purchased through EventBrite or by calling the Urban League office at 262-2463.

About the League

The Urban League of Kansas was founded in 1954 as an affiliate of the National Urban League. It was established to bring social and economic equality to under-served citizens in our community. Today the Urban League of Kansas served more than 2,000 clients annually. The Mission is to facilitate economic self-reliance and an improved quality of life for Urban League of Kansas clients through education, empowerment, and self-respect. 

“Now more than ever, it is critical that this organization bring hope and tools fro success to our community,” noted Board Chair Melody McCray-Miller.

Future plans include expanding program offerings to a wider client base and working with local leaders to ensure that all eligible voters are registered – and that they cast their votes in November. 

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