Leaders of the National Urban League announced a $1 million grant to the organization's Philadelphia chapter and voiced concern Friday about fatal shootings by police in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City that have sparked protests over the last two weeks.
With Mayor Nutter and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) standing by, Marc H. Morial, president of the league, announced that the chapter would receive the five-year commitment to boost its programs for job-seekers, entrepreneurs, and youth development.
In the gathering at the Loews Hotel in Center City, Rosalyn McPherson, president and chief executive of the Urban League of Philadelphia, said the $1 million would "help us present more success stories among entrepreneurs."
She noted several successful entrepreneurs at the gathering who had been assisted by the Philadelphia Urban League's Entrepreneurship Center.
McPherson said programs for job-seekers, youth, and entrepreneurs aid about 800 people. The extra money will allow more people to participate, she said.
The Urban League was founded in 1910 to advocate for civil rights and economic empowerment among African Americans. The Philadelphia chapter has about 500 members.
Asked about nationwide protests prompted by grand jury rulings to not prosecute police in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner on Staten Island, Morial said, "These peaceful demonstrations are important to the cause" of social justice, adding that the protesters have been of all races.
He said there would be a peaceful march to the Justice Department in Washington next Saturday.
"We're talking about people who lost their lives . . . under questionable circumstances. We have a set of issues crying out for justice," he said.
Morial added: "There are many, many good police officers . . . but no one is above being accountable for their actions."