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Urban League has two goals at convention; Spotlight on employment crisis, Boston’s image

Urban League has two goals at convention

Spotlight on employment crisis, Boston’s image

July 29, 2011|By Akilah Johnson, Globe Staff

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Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates… (Photos by Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)

Jade Parrish had heard plenty about the themes of this year’s National Urban League convention – jobs and education. What she didn’t know about was the city’s reputation as being unwelcoming to people of color.

It wasn’t until the 22-year-old heard elected officials and dignitaries describe the progress Boston has made in the past 35 years that she learned about the racial hostilities that existed in the 1970s. Before coming to Boston for the first time this week, Parrish knew a different history of the city, one linked to the founding of the nation, and one she can’t wait to explore.

“I am really excited just to be able to see a large number of people who look like me coming together around education and unemployment,’’ Parrish, a rising senior at Purdue University, said while standing in the middle of the expo and career hall at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. “That’s been a very big concern in my life right now.’’

There is a two-tiered mission for the National Urban League’s 2011 convention. The first is to shine a light on the nation’s unemployment crisis and help find jobs for those out of work. The other is to change Boston’s image by replacing televised images of the school desegregation fight of the 1970s with positive experiences in the city’s shops and restaurants.



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