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Urban League Host Leaders on Historic Trade & Cultural Mission to China
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 28, 2010

National Urban League and Los Angeles Urban League Host African-American Leaders on Historic Trade & Cultural Mission to China

While sight-seeing and experiencing Chinese culture are indeed part of its weeklong itinerary, an Urban League delegation to the People’s Republic of China will be focused on business, education and urban renewal during a historic cultural and trade mission to Beijing.

The delegation, led by National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial and Los Angeles Urban League President & CEO Blair Taylor, is composed of prominent African-American leaders from around the country in business, education, civil engagement and government. They will have an unprecedented opportunity to engage with influential Chinese business and community leaders.  

The private mission is the first national African-American delegation to China. The group is being hosted by the China-United States Exchange Foundation. In addition to Morial, Taylor and other key Urban League officials, delegates include: former Secretary. of Transportation Rodney Slater; Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory; Carl Ballton, President, Union Bank of California Foundation; Danny Bakewell Sr., Chairman, National Newspapers Publishers Association; Dr. Frank Gilliam, Dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs, Harry Johnson, Sr., President & CEO, Washington DC Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., and Roland Martin, TV One. Additional Los Angeles delegates include Jasmyne Cannick, LA activist and journalist, Carl Dickerson, CEO, Dickerson Employee Benefits, Tom Sayles, VP, Government and Community Relations, USC and LA Urban League’s COO Trevor Ware and Executive Assistant Bonnie Thomas-Jeter. Taylor, Ware and Thomas-Jeter will provide daily updates and pictures at <> and

“All Urban League affiliates will find value in partnerships with China, a nation that has emerged from third world to global superpower status in less than 25 years,” said Taylor. “There are clearly mutual benefits from a relationship between the African-American community in the United States and the peoples of China.”  

In 2006, Taylor led a 12-member team of executives, educational and business experts and community leaders from the Los Angeles African-American community to visit the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing for eight days with travel sponsored by American Airlines. The current trip is a continuation of interest in developing an African-American plan for building global relationships and wealth for America’s cities.

“We will explore common areas of interest and potential opportunities to bring Chinese investment to the African-American community in such areas such as banking and finance, industry and manufacturing, import-export, real estate, culture and tourism and the public sector,” said Morial. “In particular, we hope to partner with the Chinese to drive urban development and renewal, update inner-city infrastructure – as well as secure investment in and financing for businesses and entrepreneurship, while creating jobs and affordable housing.”

The Chinese have also shown a great interest in American culture, particularly in sports and music, and cultural exchanges will be another focus of the trip.  The National Basketball Association and Adidas have both exceeded their sales expectations by marketing sports equipment and memorabilia at 29 retail outlets in China. In fact, NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady and Dwayne Wade all top China’s native son Yao Ming in NBA jersey sales.

The League trip comes just months after President Barack Obama’s tour of Asia last November. And while the Urban League is aligned and supports the president’s policies on key issues that span from economic growth to climate change, Morial reiterates that this mission has a specific focus on economic development and job creation. “We have been planning our exploratory trade and cultural mission to China for some time.  We find it interesting and apropos that in his November Asian trip, President Obama showed that he is on the same page with the NUL and is aggressively exploring new socioeconomic opportunities between the U.S. and Asia.  We appreciate that in that trip the President once again demonstrated his leadership and vision by setting the stage for what we believe will be an important cultural and business exchange – as well as a memorable world event,” said Morial.
About the Los Angeles Urban League
Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League is Los Angeles’ premier community organization in advancing equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans and other minority youths and adults through innovative job training, job placement, youth achievement and business development programs. Through its collective programs, services and advocacy activities and seven offices located in the Crenshaw District, South Los Angeles, and Pomona, the Los Angeles Urban League serves over 100,000 constituents annually. Blair H. Taylor serves as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, one of the largest and most successful affiliates of the National Urban League, which has affiliates in 109 cities throughout the United States.
About the National Urban League
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, there are more than 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.

Categories: International

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