Partying with a Purpose the New York Way

There are few things New Yorkers love more than a quality brunch experience where the weather is (still) gorgeous, the drinks are flowing, and the food is phenomenal. The New York Urban League’s recent Black and White Champagne Brunch brought home way more than just bubbles and a great time. The organization’s third annual event was also an excellent opportunity to meet and break bread with some of the city’s most progressive and visionary African Americans.

Held at the stunningly beautiful waterfront restaurant La Marina, the event honored Camille Joseph Goldman, vice president of State Government Affairs at Charter Communications. Event leadership included New York Urban League Board Chair Jeanine Conley and John Daves; Elsie McCabe Thompson and NYUL Board member Bill Thompson; and the afternoon’s honoree, Ms. Goldman and Jason Goldman.

First things first, let me get the most important question out of the way: The food was outstanding! Delectable fried chicken sandwiches and fresh fruit skewers paired with overflowing bubbly is exactly how you kick off a Saturday on the waterfront. I barely touched the buffet afterward, I was having such a blast!

Passed hors d’oeuvres included fried chicken sandwiches and fresh fruit skewers to complement the champagne.

Honoring Mayor David Dinkins’ Legacy

Ms. Goldman was presented with the David N. Dinkins Award for Service, Leadership and Social Justice.

Former NYC Comptroller, Mayoral Candidate, and NYUL Board member Bill Thompson kicked off this portion of the program with lovely remarks about former Mayor Dinkins’ contributions to our city, not just during his tenure as mayor, but as a role model for many. Through multiple runs for the office of Manhattan Borough President, Mayor Dinkins displayed a tenacity and vision that has inspired many civic leaders who have served after him. His commitment to reducing crime in the city has led to the quality of life that we enjoy today. There were quite a few lessons on leadership in his years of service that I’m sure may lead to a future blog post! Keep your eyes peeled, folks.

Upon acceptance of the award, Ms. Goldman shared a touching tribute highlighting Mayor Dinkins’ legacy to New Yorkers.

Also present were two students who’ve received support and assistance from the organization. The New York Urban League’s mission is to enable African Americans and other underserved ethnic communities to secure a first-class education, economic self-reliance, and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, services, and advocacy in our highly diversified city. They’ve been a voice and an advocate for New Yorkers since 1919. Through their work, more than 8,000 families are helped each year.

The organization’s President & CEO Arva Rice kicked off the brunch by sharing pivotal moments in her family’s history when they could no longer abide injustice in their communities. She brought it all full circle by pointing out that for our New York City youth, the terrible tragedy that befell Eric Garner has become that new awakening.


Some organizations put great effort into aligning their mission with what they believe dwells deep within the hearts of New Yorkers. Touching lives, inspiring youth, and improving access to opportunities for New Yorkers of color is not just what the New York Urban League does, it’s all about who they are.

As a native New Yorker (born and raised in Queens!), I felt a great sense of pride when reliving some truly pivotal moments in our city’s history. Coupled with the opportunity to connect with other fascinating professionals who share a similar passion, this is a brunch that I don’t plan to miss next year.

Cover photo credit:  Malik Yusef Cumbo

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