*Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) is excited to host their annual awards dinner, the 44th Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner, on April 21, 2017 in the prestigious Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
This historical event celebrates outstanding philanthropists, corporate executives, civil rights pioneers, and community and business leaders whose contributions have had a tremendous impact on underserved communities locally and across the country.
This year’s theme “The Magic of Giving” symbolizes the importance of investing in the Los Angeles Urban League, which in turn empowers the community to strive for excellence. For over 95 years, the League has been committed to making magic by transforming the lives of individuals touched by their workforce, economic and business development programs and initiatives.
The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award is the League’s most prestigious honor given to individuals who exemplify outstanding community spirit and provide significant leadership to advance equal opportunities for African Americans and other minorities. These values reflect the core character of the late civil rights leader Whitney M. Young, Jr. Earvin “Magic” and Cookie Johnson are the 2017 Whitney M. Young, Jr. honorees, noted for their unwavering commitment to economic empowerment for the underserved, HIV & AIDS advocacy and philanthropy.
Earvin stole the hearts of Los Angeles Lakers fans with his winning drive and determination on the court, with those same principles guiding him to excel as a business leader in the boardroom. With Cookie by his side he has continued to achieve greatness as the Chairman & CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, co-owner of the LA Dodgers, LA Sparks, and the LA Football Club and newly appointed as the President of Basketball Operations for the LA Lakers. A great woman of faith, Cookie Johnson works closely with her husband serving on the Board of Directors for the Magic Johnson Foundation, developing the organization’s overall goals, objectives and programs. Additionally, she travels across the world speaking at conferences and events on HIV & AIDS education and prevention. A New York Times bestselling author for her memoir Believing in Magic, she also operates a premium denim line, CJ by Cookie Johnson. The true definition of a power couple, Earvin and Cookie’s story has been an inspiration for the world to believe that unconditional love and faith conquers all.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the Los Angeles Urban League and receive the award in the name of Whitney M. Young Jr., who spent his career working for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised. Everyday Cookie and I strive to live up to the values and mission exemplified by Whitney M. Young Jr. We recognize that our success is defined by those whom we are able to help become successful and it is truly humbling that our mission and results have been identified by the Urban League as significant and impactful. We will continue to service our community and nation,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The dinner committee has planned an elegant soiree that has great promise of being one of the most memorable events of the year. The evening kicks off at 5:30pm following with the awards dinner which begins at 7:00 p.m. as actress Holly Robinson Peete, the mistress of ceremonies, welcomes guests. Spectacular performances are on program with students from Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy and an all-star musical tribute with members from the Grammy-award winning band Earth, Wind & Fire and 70’s soul group, Honey Cone.
“Our 2017 honorees are a dedicated and passionate couple,” said Nolan Rollins, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. “Earvin and Cookie exemplify the values and commitment to empower and uplift communities of color through employment, education, advocacy, and leadership. We are thrilled to applaud the Johnson’s outstanding contributions in the spirit and legacy of Whitney M. Young, Jr. This year’s event brings about newness as we celebrate in a new location, with new goals committed to the same vision.”
Some of this year’s corporate supporters and friends of the League include; Aids Healthcare Foundation, AT&T, Charter Communications, Chevron, Cleveland Avenue LLC, Edison International, Equitrust Life Insurance, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Intuit, JP Morgan Chase, Macy’s, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., and UPS. Sponsorship opportunities and individual tickets are still available. For more information please contact Bonnie Thomas-Jeter at 323-299-9660 x2494 or visit www.laul.org. To stay informed with updates on the LAUL movement, connect with the League on social media: Instagram @LAURBANLEAGUE_ and Facebook/Twitter @LAURBANLEAGUE. Share your story with the League via the #YOURLAUL hashtag.
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About the Los Angeles Urban League
Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League is recognizing 96 years of service to Los Angeles communities. The League is the city’s premiere community organization in advancing equal opportunities, by championing public policy and social justice on behalf of African Americans and other minorities through economic, business and workforce development programs. Nolan V. Rollins serves as President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, one of the largest and most successful affiliates of the National Urban League.
About the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner
The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner – a Los Angeles tradition – serves as the League’s signature fundraiser. The Awards Dinner was launched in 1974 and is considered one of the most highly anticipated annual fundraising events in Los Angeles. Previous recipients of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards include legends of Hollywood and leaders in education, politics, faith and business such as: Bishop Charles E. Blake, Steven Bochco, Mayor Thomas Bradley, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dr. Winston Doby, Deborah Flint, Ella Fitzgerald, Berry Gordy, Hill Harper, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, Norman Lear, John W. Mack, Sidney Poitier, Dionne Warwick, Denzel Washington, Stevie Wonder and John Wooden.
Sandra Lewis Cooper
Jessica L. A. Pipkins