George Washington’s Assistant Vice President for District Relations Bernard Demczuk will receive the Greater Washington Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Community Service Award on Wednesday at the Urban League’s 75th anniversary gala celebration. The award is named for the executive director of the National Urban League during the civil rights movement, who helped make the organization into a powerful force for economic opportunity for African Americans.
Dr. Demczuk is receiving the award for his longtime commitment to GWUL and its mission, said GWUL President Maudine Cooper.
"Bernard Demczuk's gift is that he combines political savvy with a kind and generous spirit, and he epitomizes the ideals that the Urban League stands for,” Ms. Cooper said. "He truly believes that economic and political empowerment must extend to everyone in society so that we all can move forward, and his work is testimony to those beliefs."
Dr. Demczuk said he has been a community activist for many years and is proud of the relationship that the university has with GWUL. GW President Steven Knapp is a member of the GWUL’s board of directors, and the university hosts the organization’s annual meeting on campus.
“GW is a big supporter of the Urban League,” Dr. Demczuk said. “This award really honors GW’s commitment to be in and of the city of Washington. GW is intimately involved with the quality of life for this city.”
Dr. Demczuk said he was flattered to receive the award. Recent past winners include Brigadier General Belinda Pinckney, the Washington Nationals baseball club and former GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.
“I’m honored and very, very pleased,” he said.
The National Urban League was founded in New York in 1929 as a nonpartisan civil rights organization with a mission to help black citizens become self-reliant and gain economic parity and civil rights. The greater Washington organization was founded in 1938. Today, the GWUL is the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit social services and civil rights organization in the D.C. area, serving more than 65,000 people annually.
President Steven Knapp said he was pleased that Dr. Demczuk was being recognized for his many contributions to the city and called the honor “well deserved.”
Former D.C. Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp will also receive a Whitney M. Young Jr. Community Service Award Wednesday.
Tickets to GWUL’s 75th anniversary gala are available online.