42nd Annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner

Columbia, SC – A native son of the South, Majority Whip and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn will deliver the keynote address on race relations in the state at the Columbia Urban League’s 42nd Equal Opportunity Day Dinner (EOD) and Annual Fund Campaign.

Congressman Clyburn has spent a majority of his life championing the call for racial equity and improving South Carolina’s social and economic conditions.

The theme for this year’s event is particularly relevant and serves as a call to action for the betterment of South Carolina and its economic development. Given some of the events of the past year that have dominated headlines, further deteriorating the state’s image and potential for economic prosperity, the theme is "Economic Empowerment: A Competitive Edge Driven by Race Relations.

Most recently, South Carolina has suffered even more setbacks in race relations, because of the "you lie" remark made by U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson.

"We have allowed a few South Carolinians to hijack race relations and cast a negative cloud over all South Carolina" said James T. McLawhorn, Jr., president and CEO of the Columbia Urban League.

Each year, the Urban League uses this event to showcase the agency’s importance in the community through its mission of empowering disadvantaged people to enter the economic and social mainstream. Equally important, the Urban League is able to honor individuals and businesses in the community who do astonishing work to assist it in fulfilling that mission. Having continued financial and volunteer support was even more crucial this year as the Columbia Urban League worked to maintain, even expand, its programming during one of the worst economic downturns in recent history. The Columbia Urban League is particularly grateful to Time Warner Cable for its commitment as the title sponsor of this year’s Equal Opportunity Day Dinner.

In addition, both Congressman Clyburn and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham will receive the Urban League’s prestigious Whitney M. Young Award for advancing race relations in South Carolina and their efforts to promote civility and equal opportunity. Also, they have demonstrated that two leading South Carolinians from different racial backgrounds and political parties can find common ground on race relations.

Other honorees are Dr. James Solomon, local consultant and former director of the state Department of Social Services; Dr. Bambi Gaddist, executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council; Time Warner Cable; William Horton, former president and chief operating officer, Government Division of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; and Janice Marshall, director of the James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation.

"I’m part of an organization, the Columbia Urban League, that has helped thousands of people find the path to better, more fulfilling lives while bringing people throughout the Midlands together to build a more inclusive community," Horton, a former member of the league’s board of directors, said of his honor.

"The Urban League Lincoln Jenkins Award is my worldly cue to persevere," Gaddist said. "To look beyond moments of doubt…to recommit myself to overcoming the stigma that has paralyzed our community…to reset my eyes on the prize! This award means that that there are brighter days ahead–that our work has not been in vain and if we just continue — that our reward will be greater, after awhile."

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, at Seawell’s, 1125 Rosewood Drive in Columbia, SC. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and program follows at 7 p.m.

For ticket information, call the Columbia Urban League at (803) 799-8150.