2017 Conference Recap

2017 Conference Recap

The 2017 National Urban League Conference was one for the books, with over 20,000 attendees!Thank YOU for making it a powerful, unforgettable experience. Special thanks to our participants, sponsors, speakers, volunteers, chaperones, staff, and each person who played a role in making the 4-day gathering a success.

Relive the moments through this recap and share your favorite moments on social media using #SaveOurCities!

Ferguson Community Center Opens, Once Site of Burned Gas Station

On Wednesday morning, we joined the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis for the grand opening of the new Ferguson Community Empowerment Center. Built on the ashes of burned down QuikTrip during protests after the fatal police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown, the Center will house the Save Our Sons job placement program and offer career training, educational, and health services.Read more on NBC News!

State of the Urban League Address

Before officially opening the 2017 Conference, National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial charged guests at the historic Friendly Temple Baptist Church with an important call to action:

We as a generation are not going to allow the hands of time to be turned back. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Urban Leaguers, we must WAKE UP and STAY WOKE.” – Marc H. Morial

Surprise Concert Delights Urban Leaguers at St. Louis Conference

Jamie Foxx                           Vanessa L. Williams 

The annual Whitney M. Young Awards Gala packed more than its usual punch of star power when musical artists Vanessa L. Williams and Jamie Foxx surprised the crowd at the end of the evening!

Celebrities + Influencers 

Star Jones                           Michael Eric Dyson, Tamika Mallory
Reverend Dr. William Barber             Jeff Johnson
Reverend Al Sharpton                      CCH Pounder, Judge Glenda Hatchett

FREE Backpack, School Supply Giveaway


Thousands of families and children walked into our Expo Hall for the Community & Family Day Back to School Community Empowerment Festival! Just in time for back to school, kids were able to get free backpacks, school supplies, plus haircuts for the boys, and manicures for the girls.

Small Business Pitch Winners 

A panel of judges heard pitches from 9 ambitious entrepreneurs with unique business ideas. In the end, three top winners took home a total of $10,000 in prizes! Congratulations to the top pitch winner, Jimmy Prude of Jimmy’s Vegan Cookies; top pitch 2+ years in business, Shanice Ruffin of Elated Harmonies Massage; and top pitch startup Kiley Summers of SpenDebt, LLC.

Career + Networking Fair 

With over 2,000 attendees, this year’s Career and Networking Fair was a success! Eager job seekers lined up to take advantage of free career coaching, mock interviews, resume reviews, LinkedIn critiques, and professional headshots. Career development workshops led by industry experts were a fan favorite and the Career Fair’s signature networking events were filled with young professionals looking to make new connections.

Youth Leadership Summit + College Fair

The 2017 Youth Leadership Summit hosted 343 young people, chaperones, and staff representing 31 Urban League affiliates, 44 cities, and 24 states! Attendees took part in week-long empowering and informative activities on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis and other local sites, from community service and hands-on STEAM activities to a Youth Town Hall where they had candid conversations about the issues and topics that matter most to them. Youth also met with representatives from dozens of colleges, universities, and financial support institutions at the 8th Annual Project Ready Invitational College Fair.

Hackathon for Social Justice

Over in the technology space, teams of innovators spent two days hacking solutions to social issues like education, jobs, justice, health, and more. Three finalists took home top prizes: Hack@CHS won the first place prize ($3,500, 4 MacBooks, and mentorship from Ferguson1000); Brighter Days won second place ($1,500) for their mental health app; and team Good Journey won third place for their idea to Paint Our City.

Galleries + Videos

Missed the plenaries and luncheons? Watch the full videos.


Check out more photos in our Facebook album!  

Save the Date – 2018 Conference


We’re bringing our 2018 Conference to Columbus, Ohio! Save the date for August 1-4, 2018.