National Urban League in Cincinnati: 2014 conference brings national spotlight, millions of dollars

'This speaks volumes about our city'

CINCINNATI – When the National Urban League starts its annual conference here Wednesday, the organization will bring more than its 8,500 delegates and $2 million in visitor spending to the region.

The group also will help seal Cincinnati's status as a host of the nation's largest multicultural conventions.

With the National Urban League's conference, Cincinnati has now booked or hosted 15 of the top 25 multicultural conventions in the country, according to the trade publication Black Meetings & Tourism.

"The economics is one thing," said Julie Calvert, vice president of communications and strategic development for the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. "But for us, with these multicultural conventions, it's more of the dialogue and what they represent. This speaks volumes about our city and our region's progress."

The convention and visitors bureau has focused on growing its multicultural conventions, rebuilding business that the city lost in the wake of the 2001 riots sparked by a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

The National Urban League, in fact, was supposed to hold its 2003 annual conference here but moved the meeting because of the riots.

Now it has become one of a number of big-name multicultural conventions that have come to Cincinnati as the city has worked to heal its racial divide.

"Not to say we don't still have more work to do because we do," Calvert said. "But having these groups come to Cincinnati is a validation and endorsement of the good work that's been done."

WCPO Insiders can read more about how Greater Cincinnati has made its mark with multicultural conventions in recent years.


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