By Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League
Dear NYULYP Community,
When I sat down to write this month’s letter for The Griot, it was hard to think of just one word that described all the great interactions I have had with NYULYP this month. Whether it was a one-on-one conversation about career goals, a group conversation about how Albany works or small planning sessions on the upcoming State of Young Black New York conference, I have been stimulated by our discussions and impressed by your commitment to social justice.
Over President’s Day Weekend, more than three-dozen Young Professionals spent their Saturday traveling to Albany to hear more about how they can use their collective voices to advocate for public policy that benefits our community. The Young Professionals attended workshops on topics from the ‘DREAM Act and DREAM Fund’ to ‘Local Living Wage & Minimum Wage’ to the ‘Impact of Stop and Frisk’ on communities of color.
The group also attended a session especially created for them to talk directly with legislators, lobbyists and advocates about how individuals can actually affect policy. In an honest and open discussion, State Senator Kevin Parker explained that central to impacting public policy is influence, leverage and power. A panel discussion followed where Lavita McMath Turner of Kingsborough Community College, Marcia Maxwell of Global Strategies and Tiffany Rasberry of York Group Associates shared best practices for advocacy and organizing. It was a powerful day that ended in informal networking sponsored by Entergy.
That same Saturday that New Yorkers from across the state convened to speak directly to legislators about critical issues of juvenile justice, housing, health care, economic development and education, the verdict in the Jordan Davis case was announced. As anger and frustration mounts over justice denied, I cannot think of a better time to explore From a Moment to a Movement – Policy In Black America. I hope that you will join me as the Civic and Economic Committee hosts the annual State of Young Black New York on March 1. Our work is not done and we all need to do our part.
As I thought about the conversations and experiences over this past month, there was one word that came to mind: “Impact!” Continue to create ways for young professionals to make an impact, and the New York Urban League will be a partner in your journey.
About the Author, Arva Rice
Arva Rice is President & CEO of the New York Urban League (NYUL) an organization whose mission is to enable African Americans and other underserved communities to secure a first class education, economic self-reliance and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, services and advocacy. Prior to joining NYUL, she served as the Executive Director of Project Enterprise, an organization that provides business loans, technical assistance and peer support to New York City entrepreneurs. Arva was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national foundation that develops solutions to build a brighter future for children, as one of 16 leaders from across the country for its 2013-2014 Children and Family Fellows.
About the State of Young Black New York (SOYBNY)
Join the New York Urban League Young Professionals (NYULYP) for its Annual State of Young Black New York. The theme for this year’s symposium will be Policy In Black America – From a Moment to a Movement. The purpose of the day is to demonstrate how past and present “moments” (critical, historic incidents and events) serve as a catalyst for “movements” (defined campaigns and public action that results in policy change) that impact the lives of young black Americans in New York. Through exploration of today’s pressing issues – from the regression of civil rights to the shrinking middle class – participants will explore why and how they can participate in these movements to help shape policy that works to the benefit of their communities. Purchase tickets here.
This event is sponsored by NYU Wagner Mosaic & The Research Center for Leadership in Action at NYU Wagner.