Rev. James Lawson (Courtesy photo)

Legendary civil rights leader James Lawson will receive the Centennial Award at the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Gala sponsored by the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) on Thursday, June 30, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The 47th Awards Dinner, with the theme “A Century of Service,” will feature Chris Schauble, KTLA 5 News anchor, as the master of ceremony and entertainment by the Inner City Youth Orchestra. The red carpet and cocktail reception begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

“I’m very proud to play an active role as a board member with the Los Angeles Urban League. This organization has been a strong voice and a true beacon here in Los Angeles for over 100 years. Being a vocal advocate of the African-American and other minority groups to increase economic empowerment isn’t an easy task,” said Mark Cromwell, LAUL Centennial Committee co-chair and Fund Development Committee chair.

“I think Whitney M. Young, Jr., who our Awards Gala is named after, said it best when he remarked ‘support the strong, give courage to the timid, remind the indifferent, and warn the opposed.’ This is what the L.A. Urban League has been about for the last 100 years and moving into the future.”

“There is no one more deserving of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award than Rev. Lawson. He is the legendary civil rights leader whose leadership resulted in majority legislation with global reach. He led multiple historic protests and continues to serve as a role model and inspiration for Civil Rights advocacy globally,” said Michael A. Lawson, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League.

“We thank him for his continued service and commitment to the Los Angeles Urban League’s mission.”

The Whitney M. Young, Jr., Awards Dinner, which raises funds for the Los Angeles Urban League and its community outreach programs, has previously honored sports legends such as the late John Wooden and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, as well as entertainers such as Denzel Washington, the late Natalie Cole, Sidney Poitier, and Stevie Wonder.

The list of past honorees also includes businessman and media mogul Byron Allen; political commentator and author Van Jones; and educator, historian and the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute Lonnie G. Bunch III. In addition, recognition has extended to community leaders from organizations such as Toyota, Disney, NBC Universal, and West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Los Angeles Police Department, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

For Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner ticket information, visit