BY FAIMON A. ROBERTS III
Advocate staff writer
July 26, 2012
Mayor-President Kip Holden thanked the National Urban League for being a voice “for justice” for the poor in a lunchtime speech Wednesday at the group’s annual conference in New Orleans.
Repeatedly invoking religious imagery, Holden urged those attending the conference to continue their fight for equality.
“I remember my mom and dad, and the struggles they went through,” Holden told attendees at an invitation-only lunch. “If our ancestors fought these battles, what detours have we taken today?”
Holden said continuing progress was evidence that God was at work, but the work must continue and he encouraged the attendees not to lose heart.
“Dream the impossible dream,” he said, during his nine-minute address. “God uses the difficulties of men’s lives so that we can be better and better serve those who need our help and leadership.”
Holden was introduced by National Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Marc H. Morial, who told the gathering Baton Rouge “is headed by a very able” chief executive.
“He and I have worked together for many years,” Morial said.
Holden thanked Morial and compared himself to Morial and Morial’s father, Ernest.
“Marc’s dad was in the Legislature and was a mayor of New Orleans, Marc was in the Legislature and was a mayor of New Orleans, and I was in the Legislature and am a mayor of Baton Rouge.”
Holden admitted beforehand that he was nervous.
“It’s kind of daunting,” he said before the speech. “This organization has such a respected record.”
Holden called speaking at the meeting before about 150 conference attendees “one of the highest honors anyone could have.”
Holden’s speech preceded that of keynote speaker Dr. Frederick Haynes III, the pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Several thousand conference attendees were expected at an evening speech being given by President Barack Obama.