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Chicago Urban League Announces Entertainment and Honorees for 60th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner

The Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson recently announced via social media that iconic R&B group Boyz II Men will take the stage at the organization’s 60th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner. The highly anticipated affair will be held on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

“This year marks 105 years of the Chicago Urban League’s existence and 60 years of bringing our friends and supporters together in a celebration of fellowship, so we had to have legendary entertainment to match,” said Freeman-Wilson. “The music of Boyz II Men crosses generations and genres. I can already feel the energy they’re sure to bring to this performance.”

The Golden Fellowship Dinner is the Chicago Urban League’s biggest annual fundraiser. After hosting the event on a virtual platform in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization plans to return to an in-person celebration this year, with a live broadcast option for virtual attendees. The black-tie gala will begin with a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m., and an after-party at 10:00 p.m.

All attendees will be required to submit proof of vaccination in advance and to wear masks throughout the evening. Seating will observe appropriate social distancing.

Each year, the Golden Fellowship Dinner attracts a notable cross-section of the city’s civic and corporate leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, clergy, elected officials and more. The theme for this year’s gala is “60 Years and Onward: Meeting the Moment with the Movement.” Organizers will reflect on six decades of incredible partnerships in pursuing the Chicago Urban League’s mission and highlight how the Urban League movement is meeting today’s challenges that continue to hinder racial and economic equity.

“While we celebrate the strides that the League has made on behalf of Black people in areas including housing, education, entrepreneurship, employment and advocacy, there is still more work to be done,” Freeman-Wilson added. “Our powerful village of staff, clients, volunteers, donors and stakeholders help us write history daily. Our fight for equity in every setting is ongoing, making the League’s mission, work and presence more critical than ever.”

2021 Honorees

Freeman-Wilson also announced that the League will bestow the coveted Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Award on trial lawyer for justice Attorney Benjamin Crump, who has helped change the landscape of civil rights while casting a national spotlight on landmark cases of racial injustice including those of Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin and more recently George Floyd.

Named for Bill Berry, CEO of the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and a key activist in the Civil Rights Movement, the award is given annually to leaders who make a mark locally and nationally through hard work, perseverance and creativity.

The League will also honor United Airlines Executive Brett J. Hart with its Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award. Named for long-time CPA, accounting firm principal and Chicago Urban League Life Director Lester H. McKeever, Jr., and created in 2016, the award recognizes an individual who embodies excellence through service and has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of life for Black residents of Chicago.

Chicago Urban League Board member and Northern Trust Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Connie Lindsey will receive the League’s Humanitarian Award for her longstanding support of issues that align with the organization’s mission.

The 2021 Gala co-chairs are William O’Grady, Chairman, President & CEO of Northern Trust, and John O. Hudson, III, President & CEO of Nicor Gas.

Support the 60th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner and Exchange

On Friday, November 5, the League will host its second annual Golden Fellowship Exchange, where 2021 Bill Berry Award honoree Benjamin Crump will accept his award. The Exchange will be free and open to the public. For the Golden Fellowship Dinner on Saturday, November 6, tickets for in-person attendance are $600 each and virtual tickets are $200. Virtual attendees will receive a gift card to order dinner from a local restaurant.

Tickets go on sale on October 4, 2021. For more information about sponsorship opportunities for the Chicago Urban League’s 60th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, visit www.ChiUL.org.

About the ChicagoUrban League

Since 1916, the Chicago Urban League—through collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships—has helped people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. We are passionate advocates for economic and racial equity for Black Chicagoans. Visit www.chiul.org and follow us on Twitter at @ChiUrbanLeague and Facebook at @ChicagoUrbanLeague.

Grammy, Billboard and Soul Train award-winning Boyz II Men is one of the most successful R&B groups of all time. Discovered by New Edition’s Michael Bivins, Boyz II Men released their debut album Cooleyhighharmony on Motown Records, which Bivins helped to produce. It went on to become an instant success, followed by an extensive list of chart-topping hits. With more than 25 years of success and millions of fans, Boyz II Men continues to perform worldwide, as a trio.

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