Urban League announces Community Leader Awards; Pharrell Williams to serve as keynote speaker

Pharrell Williams

FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, Pharrell Williams arrives at the 23rd annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Grammy award-winning musician Williams has called for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of his cousin, Donovon Lynch, along the Virginia coast. Williams made the call on Instagram Monday, April 5, 2021, after speaking at his cousin’s funeral in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Urban League of Hampton Roads is set to host the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Virtual Event in January.

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Event organizers say the event is designed to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognize leaders whose significant contributions to the community reflect Dr. King’s commitment to social justice and equity for marginalized communities.

“We are proud to continue this long held tradition for the Hampton Roads community. It is incredibly important that we recognize and celebrate the leaders who make such significant contributions to our community, as well as educate the community about the instrumental role the Urban League serves for the Hampton Roads community,” said Gilbert Bland, President and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads. 

The MLK 2022 Award Recipients are:

  • Civic – Bennett Zier, President & CEO, Audacy
  • Education – Jeffrey Smith, Superintendent, Hampton Public School District
  • Employment – Jennifer Boykin, Executive Vice President, Huntington Ingalls Industries & President Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Financial – Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Senior Vice President & CEO, Bank of America
  • Health – Cynthia C. Romero, Executive Director, Brock Institute, Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Housing – Susan F. Dewey, Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Housing
  • Innovation – Robert M. Blue, Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dominion Energy
  • Philanthropy – Jane P. Batten, President, The Batten Foundation

“We are humbled to have Virginia’s own Pharrell Williams serve as our Keynote Speaker to elevate our unified mission for economic empowerment and equity for all,” added Bland. “We were honored to be part of his ‘Elephant in the Room’ event at Norfolk State University recently and look forward to being part of the change we seek for the community.”

The virtual event is set for January 17, 2022, at 8 a.m.

There is no cost to attend the event. Registration is online at https://ulhr.org/.

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