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'Our diversity ... is one of our greatest strengths'

8/3/2011, 1:49 p.m.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (c) receives the President’s Award at the 2011 National Urban League Conference held in Boston last week. National Urban League Board Chair John Hofmeister (l) and National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial (r) presented the award. Don West

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Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (c) receives the President’s Award at the 2011 National Urban League Conference held in Boston last week. National Urban League Board Chair John Hofmeister (l) and National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial (r) presented the award.

During the National Urban League gala, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino received the civil rights organization’s President’s Award. Here are excerpts from the Mayor’s address:

Thank you, Marc [Morial] for this special award. I’m truly honored to receive it, but it’s the people of Boston that deserve all of the credit. I accept this award on their behalf.  

It’s a testament to the progress our city has made since the Urban League last convened here. Our diversity of people and cultures is one of our greatest strengths and something that makes Boston a more vibrant place to live, work and visit.  

I hope you’ve all had a chance this week to take in what the city has to offer — downtown, along the waterfront and especially in our neighborhoods.

I know quite a few of you were able to take the trolley tour through Roxbury that we organized earlier this afternoon. I think Marc even made it onto one of the trolleys.

Roxbury is really the heart of African American culture in Boston, and there’s so much history there — the National Center of Afro-American Artists, the Shirley Eustis House, the First Church of Roxbury.

Hopefully you even got to grab a bite to eat at the Haley House Bakery.  It’s one of my favorite places to go in the city.

Tonight’s gala is a great way to celebrate what a successful conference this has been. It’s been a chance for thousands of people to get a glimpse of all that Boston has to offer.

And we got some work done too. The message around jobs and getting people back to work is resonating. As we celebrate tonight in the honor of Whitney M. Young Jr. — who was a relentless fighter for employment opportunities — it’s only fitting that the Urban League continues to take action at a time when too many people remain out of work.

Your work this week honors so many who fought for these opportunities and is urgently needed by those who now seek it.

Again, thank you for this honor tonight. On behalf of a city proud of our diversity and excited for our future, it’s been a pleasure to host this year’s Urban League conference.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed your time in Boston. Have a wonderful evening, and we hope you’ll come back soon.