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April 19, 2024 | 6-10pm | Wake Forest BioTech Place

Step into an evening of elegance and purpose at the 2024 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Gala, hosted by the Winston-Salem Urban League. Immerse yourself in the profound theme of Sankofa: Resilient Roots, Flourishing Futures as we commemorate 75 years of service and unwavering dedication to our community. Embrace the call to uplift and honor our roots while ensuring a flourishing future, all while donning your finest attire for this black-tie gala in support of a legacy that continues to make a profound impact every day.

Keynote Speaker: Anita Earls

Associate Justice, NC Supreme Court

Anita Earls is a highly accomplished legal professional with a Magna Cum Laude Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Economy and Philosophy from Williams College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She began her legal career in 1988 at Ferguson, Stein, Watt, Wallas, Adkins & Gresham, where she litigated various cases in state and federal courts, including family law, criminal defense, personal injury, voting rights, police misconduct, school desegregation, and employment discrimination. Appointed by President Clinton in 1998, Anita served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She directed the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law from 2000 to 2003 and later joined the UNC Center for Civil Rights as Director of Advocacy.

In 2007, she founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, where she served as Executive Director for ten years, litigating voting rights and other civil rights cases. Anita has also contributed to academia, teaching at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina law schools, as well as in the African and African-American Studies Department at Duke University. Admitted to practice in North Carolina, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court, Anita Earls has played a crucial role in advancing civil rights and social justice through her legal advocacy and educational efforts.

Co-Host: Kent Olden

Editor-at-Large, Bleu Magazine 

Kent Olden currently serves as Editor-at-Large for NYC-based Bleu Magazine, a leading digital and print lifestyle publication for young professionals, where he started out as a contributing writer in 2011. In his role, Kent is a part of the editorial team that oversees the content and layout of each issue, while also writing travel guides and conducting celebrity interviews for cover stories. He is a former writer for The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal, the international publication of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In September 2019, Kent was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine after being selected as a BE Modern Man of Distinction for his work in public relations and journalism.

Heavily involved in his community, Kent’s organizational memberships and participation include: the Public Relations Society of America; the National Urban League Young Professionals; the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists (past Treasurer); the National Action Network (past Public Relations Coordinator for the Buffalo-Niagara Chapter); Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (past Keeper of Records for the Buffalo, NY Alumni Chapter); the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Western New York (past President); Paramount Lodge #73 of the Prince Hall Affiliated Free & Accepted Masons (past Junior and Senior Master of Ceremonies). As the fourth great-grandson of Harriet Tubman’s brother, John Henry Stewart, he sits on the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Commission Board of Directors.

Kent is a proud graduate of Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and holds a Master of Science in Public Relations Management from Buffalo State University. He is the even prouder father of two daughters, Kendall and Khloe, who are both stellar scholars. Kent is a native of Buffalo, New York, and now resides in Richmond, Virginia.

Co-Host: Audrey Biesk

Morning News Anchor, WXII 12 News

Audrey Biesk joined the WXII 12 News and Triad CW team as an Anchor in November 2020.

You can watch her on the air weekday mornings 4:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m on WXII 12 News and 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on the Local Vibe on the Triad CW. Helping people start their day with a smile is her favorite thing to do!

Audrey works to place children in North Carolina living in foster care with a loving adoptive family in the weekly, “A Place to Call Home” segment airing Thursday evenings at 6:00 p.m. Joining the Community Leadership Council with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, she is passionate about raising awareness for the great need of more families to foster and adopt.

Since starting at WXII 12 News, Audrey has also worked closely with the American Cancer Society, volunteering as Co-Chair on the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k Walk/Run committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors with the Winston-Salem Urban League.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Advocate Level

“It is not taboo to go back for what you forgot or left behind.”

~ West African Proverb of the Akan People

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