By Eric Hayes, Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune –
Philadelphia will host the National Urban League’s 2013 annual conference, announced League president and CEO Marc Morial and Mayor Michael Nutter, on Friday.
The event, which, it is anticipated, will draw more than 4,000 visitors, is expected to generate $8 million in economic activity for the city.
“We will roll out the big red carpet,” Nutter promised Morial, noting that Philadelphia would have to outdo New Orleans, which is hosting the conference in 2012, where Morial was once mayor.
“We’re more than up to it,” joked Nutter. “Philadelphia was the place selected for the first convention just down the street, and you see what happened.”
The conference will be held July 24 – 27 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Morial told the crowd gathered at City Hall for the announcement that Urban League officials chose Philadelphia for three reasons: the first was the work of Patricia Coulter, president and CEO of the Philadelphia chapter.
“She’s breathed new life into the Philadelphia chapter,” said Morial. “It’s soared to the front of the class. We want to showcase the work that Pat Coulter has done in this city.”
The second was Mayor Michael Nutter.
“He’s a rising star on the national scene,” said Morial.
And, finally, he added: “4,000 plus people are just dying to eat cheese steaks.”
“We are proud that Philadelphia is home to a thriving Urban League affiliate,” Coulter said, who credited her staff for making the chapter what it’s become. “And, our selection to host the 2013 Annual Conference is a very welcome validation of our accomplishments and strategic focus on economic empowerment through public policy advocacy, quality programs and employment opportunities.”
In addition to the events for registered attendees, the conference will host a number of events open to the public. They include: all the exhibits in the exhibition hall, a college fair, a career fair. In addition, the conference will include a youth summit and a business summit.
“This conference is also going to be for the people of Philadelphia,” Morial said, adding that he hoped it would attract residents from throughout the Delaware Valley.
In addition to showcasing the Urban League, the conference will give visitors, many of whom have never been here, a chance to absorb Philadelphia’s art, culture and food, said Nutter, noting that Travel & Leisure magazine recently named Philadelphia the number one city in the country for culture and National Geographic named Capogiro the best ice cream in the world.
“There is no other city in American that has the amenities that we do,” crowed Nutter. It will also display the city’s potential.
“It will showcase Philadelphia as more than a time machine to the 18th Century,” said Dennis Maple, a local board member.
The National Urban League last held its annual conference in Philadelphia 13 years ago.
Contact Tribune staff writer Eric Mayes at (215) 893-5742 or firstname.lastname@example.org