National Urban League Conference starts Wednesday in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – Downtown St. Louis will have thousands of visitors this week as the 2017 National Urban League Conference comes to town.

“We've been waiting for this for two years, excited about it and team is all pumped,” said Kitty Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis.

Of course, the economic benefit will be big as people from all over the country will converge on America’s Center.

“We're expecting those attendees to spend $3 million in new money in St. Louis, but on top of that there are major corporations and sponsors for Urban League bringing equal to that—if not more—in new expenditures for things they’re producing in St. Louis,” Ratcliffe said.

The Urban League last held its national convention in St. Louis a decade ago. President Marc Morial said there were some defining reasons for coming back so soon.

“The urban League of Greater America St. Louis is one of the best Urban Leagues in the country,” he said. “The second: this is the home of our chairman, Michael Neidorf.”

Morial also said they will be dedicating the new community empowerment center in Ferguson Wednesday. The significance of what happened there will be a part of this week’s convention.

“The uprising took place the years ago and we want to talk about the work that we have done and others have done to turn anger into action but also the unfinished business,” Morial said.

“There are bigger conventions in St. Louis this year, but there are not more important ones,” she said.