This article was originally published chattanoogan.com.
Government officials, community leaders and community members gathered on Wednesday at the Chattanooga Convention Center for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga’s Equal Opportunity Day breakfast.
John Hope Bryant, founder and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures, served as keynote speaker, and the event was chaired by Jeff Jackson, Southeast market president of First Tennessee Bank. The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga also presented awards to three community leaders: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BlueCross), the Chattanooga Innovation District and LaFrederick M. Thirkill.
“John Hope Bryant’s powerful keynote address was the exact message needed for us to become further inspired and motivated to bring change to our city,” said Warren E. Logan, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. “Mr. Bryant not only delivered an incredible keynote message, but he took the time to have personal, meaningful and life-changing conversations with many who attended the event.”
The Corporate Award for Inclusion by Design, awarded to BlueCross, recognizes an organization that embraces inclusion through its business practices and community engagement activities. The Community Impact Award, awarded to the Chattanooga Innovation District, recognizes an organization that elevates the community’s standard of living and contributes to the overall quality of life. Thirkill, an elementary school principal, was selected to receive the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, which recognizes outstanding service by an individual or group for demonstrated leadership and commitment to the cause of justice, social consciousness and civic involvement.
“We are proud to say we have been raising awareness in our community through Equal Opportunity Day for 35 years,” said Mr. Logan. “However, it is an even greater honor to be able to say our city has rallied around those in our community who are in need of empowerment and financial freedom.”