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Saturday, September 18, 2021

I am empowered — are you?

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“I pledge to responsibly commit my time and talent to ensure that the nation is empowered to eliminate racial gaps and disparities in housing, education, employment and healthcare by 2025…”  

Last week, the National Urban League officially kicked off its centennial celebration and took its century-long fight for equal opportunity and empowerment to the next level. The centerpiece of our celebration is a bold, new social mobilization campaign, which we are calling I AM EMPOWERED. 

We are launching a new, interactive Web site: www.iamempowered.com, which asks citizens across the country to join us in a pledge of time and talent to achieve four empowerment goals by 2025:

Education – Every child is ready for college, work and life.

Jobs – Every American has access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits.

Housing – Every American lives in safe, decent, affordable, energy-efficient housing on fair terms.

Health care – Every American has access to quality and affordable health care solutions.

Individuals can also text EMPOWER to 69866 or download the IAE mobile application, available at the Apple App Store, Android Market and coming soon to the Blackberry App World to take the pledge. This important campaign reminds us of the power of the individual to become a force for change by galvanizing collective action to uplift entire cities and communities.

But that’s not all. The new Web site will be a social mobilization platform that connects, engages and serves the National Urban League’s growing community of constituents and partners like never before. 

The I AM EMPOWERED Social Mobilization Platform uses 21st century technology to unite people from all walks of life with the Urban League, its affiliates, coalition of supporters and one another in one location. Members can access information, services and share ideas to advance the cause of equality 24 hours a day, seven days a week in real time, online. 

The I AM EMPOWERED cyber community harnesses all social media vehicles, including Facebook and Twitter, to let members customize their experience, create profiles and sub-groups, advocate on issues and upload and share videos, content and information with others. Members can also obtain assistance in the areas of homeownership and entrepreneurship through an ever-expanding set of toolboxes and other guided experiences. The online and mobile platforms also connect the Urban League and its family of nearly 100 affiliates in one continuous community for the first time. 

I AM EMPOWERED has the support of an Honorary Centennial Committee whose members include former President Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Condoleezza Rice, Quincy Jones, Dorothy Height, Magic Johnson, Iman, Muhammad Ali, Colin Powell, Linda Johnson Rice and Spike Lee. 

The National Urban League has come a long way since it was founded in 1910 to assist African Americans moving north to flee economic, social and political oppression in the South. We have been at the forefront of every major achievement of the freedom movement – from the abolishment of Jim Crow to the election of the nation’s first Black president. And, with the inequality in health care, jobs, education and housing, it is clear our work is not yet done. 

I urge you to become a part of our movement for change by taking the I AM EMPOWERED pledge and joining our new online community. I am empowered – are you?

Marc Morial is president and CEO of the National Urban League.

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