The National Urban League‘s annual conference will come to Houston this year for the first time in more than two decades, officials announced Tuesday.
The conference will run July 26-29 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It will include a family day, health screenings, legal counseling clinics, a career fair and — potentially — a visit from the president, among other events.
The league typically invites presidential candidates during election years, and President Joe Biden addressed the conference in 2019 in Indianapolis. Mayor Sylvester Turner and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee suggested Tuesday that they expect Biden to attend next year, as well.
According to its mission statement, the civil rights organization promotes economic empowerment, equality, and civic engagement to elevate Black Americans’ standard of living. It has more than 90 affiliates across the country, including one in Houston for more than 50 years.
“It is the premier conference when you start talking about economic enhancement, development and education,” Turner said.
The conference will come to Houston for the first time since 1999. It was set to return in 2020, but that year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marc Morial, the national organization’s president and a former mayor of New Orleans, said Houston’s pitch to host the conference included lobbying from Turner, U.S. Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Astros Manager Dusty Baker.
“We are particularly proud to continue to champion the communities that we serve on a national stage,” said Judson W. Robinson III, the president of the Houston Area Urban League.