Richardson urges financial support of Urban League

Former senator and current candidate Al Lawson, left, chats with Bishop A.J. Richardson at Sunday’s Urban League fund-raiser. Photo by St. Clair Murraine

Former senator and current candidate Al Lawson, left, chats with Bishop A.J. Richardson at Sunday’s Urban League fund-raiser.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine


By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook writer

Not for one minute did Bishop A.J. Richardson get off his main point for the gathering at Saint Mary Primitive Baptist Church this past Sunday.

It was about money and he delved into several biblical verses to demonstrate why responding to the Urban League’s call for financial support is necessary. Richardson, a member of the organization since 1978, was keynote speaker at the annual Sunday fund-raising event.

His audience in the nearly-full church included several business owners, along with candidates and incumbents running for public offices. Most of them donated upwards of $500 and at the end of the night the organizations CEO Ernest Ferrell announced it had raises just over $14,000.

Before the end of the event, several individuals and business were presented certificates of appreciation for their donations, including the Capital Outlook.

Even before the announcement by Ferrell, Richardson preached that money donated to the organization would be well-spent.

“We come here tonight because the Urban League carries within its mission the very things we believe strengthens, enhance and sustains our community,” Richardson said. “These things require the generosity of those who believe in these things.”

He went on by giving a personal testimony.

“Every year I put my money where my mouth is to make sure that my membership is up to date,” he said. “It matters what we spend money on. It matters about the causes to which we give money; like the Tallahassee Urban League.”

A few minutes during the nearly two-hour long event, it became a family affair of sorts, as Richardson’s daughter was introduced as one of the candidates running for office. Monique Richardson is a candidate in the race for County Court judge seat 2.

She said she has been advocating use of the services offered by the Urban League for at least seven years. She currently worked as a managing attorney with Legal Service and has assisted hundreds of low income families who have been faced with foreclosure, she said.

Through the Urban League’s housing rehabilitation program, families could get assistance with funding to renovate homes so that that could get the most value in cases when they have to sell or refinance.

Families who participate in the program have no other resources than what the Urban League offers, Ferrell said.

“It’s essential,” Monique Richardson said. “Where else would these folks go? All of my clients are low income and most of them are seniors on fixed income; social security and sometimes a small pension. Being able to come up with $10,000 to $20,000 to rehab their homes is impossible.”

The organization’s annual fund-raising drive has the backing of some heavy hitters, including Elmira Mangum, president of FAMU and FSU’s president John Thrasher. The drive will continue through the end of the year, said Ferrell, adding that the League has reached half its goal and could raise the balance through its annual dinner in the fall.

Ferrell, who first joined the organization as it leader in 1963 when B.L. Perry had to step down to become president at FAMU, the organization has been through several changes in services that it offers.

These days the primary programs include housing, crime prevention and the victims witness program, which are funded through the state. However, there also are other assistance that the organization provides such as emergency food, utility referrals, and employment.

While there have been some program cuts over the years, Ferrell said the need never changes.
“We are more needed as an organization than ever before because the needs are still there,” he said. “There is a serious need in the Black community in particular.”