NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Former National Urban League leaders Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., John E. Jacob and Hugh B. Price, along with current President and CEO Marc H. Morial, have released the following joint statement:
“We represent a half-century of legendary leadership to this nation in our consecutive roles at the helm of the National Urban League. We were united in our goals of attacking systemic racism, building bridges among diverse groups; promoting social and economic justice—and always speaking truth to power.
“We are saddened and incensed by the recent unjust events in America, including the brutal police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the vigilante murders of Ahmaud Arbery and many others. We send our heartfelt condolences to their families, and we pray that they are strengthened by the sorrowful songs echoing around the globe.
“We are also deeply alarmed by the disproportionate number of Black Americans dying from COVID-19. But it must be said that we are not surprised. During the past half-century, we have joined with many others to warn that America’s unwillingness to enable all of its citizens to afford adequate health care would continue to exact a heavy toll on Black Americans and many other American citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic’s toll has underscored those warnings in the most horrible way. So, too, has this scourge cast into sharp relief the fissures, gaps and chasms that exist in other areas of American society: employment, housing and education.
“We are, however, encouraged by the groundswell of protests in America and abroad—protests demanding that justice be done in these individual instances of wrongdoing; that measures be taken to reform the many inequities layered into the very structure of American society; and that our municipal, state and federal leaders properly attend to their responsibility to ensure the well-being of all American citizens.
“We applaud and thank the non-violent protestors who sought to bear witness for justice in this country and abroad. They will build the road to equality and justice by continuing to admonish those who chose criminality and vandalism. Violence met with non-violent protest will lead this country to what is right.
“As we grapple with the hard work of reform and reconciliation, we sustain our faith in America and her ideals for democracy. Our faith comes from many sources, and we especially remember words spoken a half-century ago by our beloved predecessor, Whitney M, Young, Jr.
This nation has always had the music of harmony,
the song of equality, running about in its dreams.
It never played that melody because it wanted
to use only the white keys.
It’s time for it to start using the full keyboard of
human resources to bring peace, harmony, and
justice to this bitter and divided land.”
Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., led the National Urban League from 1971 to 1981; John E. Jacob from 1982 to 1994; Hugh B. Price from 1994 to 2003; and Marc H. Morial from 2003 to the present.