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Friday, February 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Fair
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Urban League of Greater Madison is a no-show at local March on Washington commemoration

It was posed as a question but meant to challenge.

"As the most active civil rights organization in our region, I am curious to know why we are playing no role in this event when [former executive director of the National Urban League] Whitney Young Jr. was one of the six organizers of the March on Washington, and wrote Lyndon B. Johnson's social programs," Kaleem Caire, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, wrote in an email Aug. 22 to Lucia Nunez, director of the Madison Department of Civil Rights, and Annette Miller, community development manager at Madison Gas and Electric.

A few hours earlier Miller had emailed Caire an invitation to the city of Madison's commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington. The Aug. 30 celebration included an address by Mayor Paul Soglin, a spoken-word performance, and a history panel with "Madison Civil Rights leaders Mother Wright, Milele Chikasa Anana, Dr. Richard Harris, Dr. Eugene Farley and Sofia Snow."

Nunez apologized for not including the Urban League, noting "it was not meant to slight anyone." She blamed the oversight on rushing to organize the event and asked Caire if he would be part of the history panel.

But the damage was done.

A week later Caire emailed Nunez to say he had been unable to reschedule an appointment with a key donor and therefore would not attend.

"I would prefer that our organization be thought of early and asked to participate in the beginning rather than us have to ask to join."

Caire did not return a call for comment.

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