Preparing African-American youths for the 21st century and promoting "a culture of achievement" for them are National Urban League priorities, its president said last night.
It is important that the parents of youngsters are informed of what it is their children need to know and do to be able to be successful in the future economy, said Hugh B. Price, president of the social service and civil rights organization.
"There's a need to promote a culture of achievement in our community," Mr. Price said. "There's a lot of ambivalence among our children about whether they should do well in school."
Mr. Price, National Urban League president since June, was the keynote speaker at last night's 1995 Equal Opportunity Banquet at Martin's West in Woodlawn.
The annual banquet, sponsored by the Baltimore Urban League, honors people in the metropolitan area for their achievements and contributions in helping the Urban League accomplish its mission.
Last night's honorees were: Dr. Norman Handy, pastor of Unity United Methodist Church on Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore; Susan Keating, executive vice president of NationsBank Center; and Rebecca Hoffberger, a member of the Baltimore Urban League/Baltimore Jewish Council Joint Committee.
In his address, Mr. Price said the Urban League seeks to enhance the academic and social development of black youths so they have the skills necessary to function in the future economy, foster economic self-sufficiency for families and promote racial inclusion throughout society.
He said working with youths is first on the agenda.
"We've got to build a constituency for youth development," Mr. Price said.
"We've got to work with the business community to help them."
Mr. Price also criticized the Republican "assault" on affirmative action.
"Affirmative action is necessary as a way to remedy past discrimination and present discrimination," he said.
"But it's also a way to help ensure that our society is inclusive in the future."
"We live in a multi-ethnic society, and it's going to continue to be multi-ethnic, and the only way we'll have the social cohesion we want is if our institutions are equally inclusive," Mr. Price said.