As anyone who follows me on social media knows, I registered for Boot Camp this summer. Signing up for this physical fitness challenge was more than a notion. Serving as CEO of the New York Urban League requires late hours and Boot Camp has an early wake up call. The camp is held outdoors in Harlem making it possible for any member, donor or local legislator to stroll by and see me struggling. And lastly, I am not an athlete. Yet I was determined to try.
I had not gotten 15 minutes into my first session and I was ready to throw in the towel. My instructor walked over to me and repeated the instructions for the chest press. This is the goal. Arva, I need you to find a solution.
Well when the date came to leave for Fort Lauderdale for the National Urban League Conference I was just as happy to have a few days without Boot Camp as I was to attend the conference. In addition to Presidential candidates the conference featured powerful panels and keynotes. Susan Taylor’s keynote and Roland Martin’s panel were riveting! Their conversation challenged us to go beyond identifying the problem, but for us to look for solutions both as individuals and members of a shared community. Taylor stressed if you are a small church or sorority adopt a classroom. If you are a larger entity adopt a school. Martin said to not attend the 2016 conference unless we made a difference in 2015.
History has proven that the process of change is a strenuous ordeal. But we cannot allow the temptation of complacently ruin the great work we have before us. Too many lives are counting on us to find answers to the complex problems that lay ahead.
Hence this year, the NYUL will be aggressively challenging itself to find solutions. We will be insistent on thinking outside the box-as to how best can we create value for our communities in our capability. We will hone in on a few select schools and neighborhoods: using our affiliate and YP community service efforts- to strengthen measurable results. We will leverage affiliate and board relationships to provide professional development opportunities for YP. And lastly, we will encourage our YPs to be the thought leaders: to develop ideas that are bold, risky, and yet attainable in every sense.
We invite you to join us.