HAMPTON, Va. (November 5, 2020) – The Hampton University William R. Harvey Leadership Institute (WRHLI) held a virtual Leadership Summit with the Greater Baltimore Urban League (GBUL) on Saturday, October 31, 2020. The Summit was the first collaboration between WRHLI and GBUL.
“It’s exciting that the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute is collaborating with other positive leadership groups who are preparing our youth for successful futures. It was great to hear that Mr. Marc Morial was able to speak to our Leadership Fellows and impart his wisdom and knowledge on them,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
A couple of months ago Dr. Jarris Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of the WRHLI received a request to collaborate with GBUL’s Saturday Leadership Program and so he jumped at the chance. “This was a surprise request and truly an honor, as Baltimore is my hometown, born and raised,” said Dr. Taylor.
“As the saying goes, ‘word on the street,’ was that they had heard about our very successful 23rd Annual William R. Harvey Leadership Institute High School ‘Virtual’ Leadership Summit and wanted their students to explore leadership lessons from our Leadership Fellows to complement their Saturday program as we continue to endure this coronavirus pandemic, SARS-CoV-2. This was our first venture outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia with a youth program and it was very gratifying to give back to the nation’s future leaders,” said Dr. Taylor.
The keynote speaker was Mr. Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest civil rights and urban advocacy organization. He began his speech with a few kind words about Dr. Harvey, who founded the Leadership Institute in 2000. “Good morning to all. It’s great to talk to you all involved with the Leadership Institute, founded by the legendary and great leader of Hampton University, Bill Harvey, who is a long-serving legend, great leader, and one who has made a difference in the lives of many,” Morial said.
During his powerful speech, Morial gave the Leadership Fellows three important principles of leadership. “First, you must love people. You must love and care about people. You must affirm the worth of each individual, even if you disagree with them, and you may not like them. Number two, have a plan. Sometimes it’s big, sometimes small. Sometimes it’s a map, but have a plan and think about what your plan should be,” Morial said. “The third important lesson is to not avoid paralysis in the face of the unexpected. We have seen this play out on the biggest stage of leadership in the world. That’s the stage of the presidency. We saw the President when faced with the unexpected pandemic become paralyzed. Denied its existence. When the correct and right thing to do would have been to recognize the nature of the emergency, modify and come up with a plan to counteract it.”
As Mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, Morial led New Orleans’ renaissance, and left office with a 70% approval rating. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies, he also holds a law degree from Georgetown University.
“I am thankful that Mr. Morial was able to accept my invitation without hesitation and share with the GBUL students and WRHLI Leadership Fellows some of his 10 leadership lessons from his recently published book, ‘The Gumbo Coalition’ that helps to inspire, unite and achieve, especially when he discussed and answered questions pertaining to voting and youth engagement in the political process. The timing of this conversation was perfect, especially with the first time voters in both of our programs,” said Dr. Taylor.
Tiffany Majors, President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Urban League was on the zoom meeting and said a few words about Morial’s speech. “This was amazing. You empowered myself and our students. I want to thank you for providing such an amazing message,” Majors said.
The Greater Baltimore Urban League Saturday Leadership Program was established in 2013, and is a free college and career readiness program for students in 8th-12th grade.