Tacoma Urban League celebrates 50 years of service to the community

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T’wina Franklin, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League.

Tacoma Urban League, known for its empowerment of African Americans and other disenfranchised groups in South Puget Sound via various social and economic advocacy programs and services, has had a rich history since its founding during the civil rights movement in 1968.

That vivid history will be on full display on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the exact day of its founding, when the Urban League and all who believe in its mission will come together for a kickoff 50th anniversary open house.

“We welcome people to come on home to the Urban League,” said T’wina Franklin, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League. “A lot of people are associated with the Urban League, but we also want to invite people who don’t know about the programs.”

Starting at 3 p.m. and going until 7 p.m. at its offices, 2550 S. Yakima Ave., the open house will feature a pictorial history, along with text, spotlighting the contributions made by hundreds of Urban League workers and volunteers over the past 50 years. Those new to the Urban League will also have the opportunity to learn about how to volunteer and get involved in the many programs the organization has to offer.

“A story lab will invite people to share their story (of how the Urban League has impacted them),” Franklin said. “A videographer will film their story and weave it all together into one video, which will be shown at the Signature Gala (on May 21). We expect the community to flow in and out and exchange stories or bring their curiosity.”

Franklin is also proud to announce that the founder of the Urban League, Thomas Dixon, will be in attendance. That same evening, Franklin and Dixon will receive a proclamation from Tacoma City Council during the regular council meeting that will honor Dixon’s work. Dixon will visit with guests during the open house.

The Urban League will celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout the year. Other celebratory events comprise the Living Library from 6:30-9 p.m. on April 13 at the University Place Library, where stories of the Tacoma-Pierce County civil rights movement will be told; the Signature Gala at 6 p.m. on May 21 at the Thea Foss Waterway; Urban League’s Family Reunion program at Cheney Stadium in July; and the seventh annual Holiday Luau on Dec. 7.

Visit thetacomaurbanleague.org as program details are updated throughout the year.

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