Formed in 2010, The League of 1789 — a bipartisan and unincorporated group under the auspice of The Pennsylvania Society (PA Society) — set out to honor the efforts of an earlier generation that formed a new nation (America) and its connection between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New York.
In 1789, General George Washington was inaugurated as President at Federal Hall in New York City and, during the course of that year, the nation’s Capital began a transition to Philadelphia.
Honoring the emergence of bipartisan leaders of color in Pennsylvania and New York, while acknowledging the historical implications and spirit of Washington’s leadership, PA Society members united to host an invitation-only reception as part of the storied Pennsylvania Society weekend.
“It is important that we acknowledge diverse officials who are indispensable to the community for which they serve,” said PA Society member and Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large, Derek Green.
Speaking on the origin of the reception, Green said he and supporters of The League of 1789 will celebrate this year by recognizing the achievements of Montgomery County (PA) Commissioner, Kenneth Lawrence Jr., and New York City Deputy Mayor, Richard Buery.
“I am honored to be included in this event recognizing a long history of leadership and diversity,” said Lawrence, Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners.
A member of the legislative and executive arm of government for the third largest county in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia suburb is home to more than 820,000 residents, Lawrence said he is “excited” and “proud” to be associated in such a manner with his long-time colleague and friend, Green.
Prior to being appointed Montgomery County Commissioner, Lawrence served as a county representative to the board of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in 2011 and was unanimously reappointed in 2016. Lawrence developed his own successful public affairs firm — Public Affairs Strategies — where he represented corporate and non-profit clients.
“Organizations like The League of 1789 recognize the importance of bringing all people to the table and inspiring a new generation of leaders,” said Lawrence, who will be honored by fellow political, civic and business leaders from all over the Mid-Atlantic region.
Designed to introduce and celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusion, ‘The League of 1789’ will entertain guests at one of the weekend-long marathon of dinners and cocktails, taking place before the Society’s 119th Annual Dinner at The Kimberly Hotel.
“Creating a more fair and equitable New York City – in which all people can participate meaningfully in society and achieve their full potential – has always been the guiding vision of the de Blasio Administration,” said Richard Buery, New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.
“From guaranteeing a free pre-k education to every four-year-old to awarding more than $1 billion to minority and women businesses last year, to reducing stop-and-frisk by 93% while keeping the City safer than ever – it begins with making sure government is reflective of the communities we serve,” said Buery, a Brooklyn native and child of immigrant parents.
Currently serving on the boards of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and NYC Kids Rise, the husband (Deborah) and father of two sons said he is “grateful to the PA Society and The League of 1789 for acknowledging these efforts and the importance of diversity in governance, now more than ever.”
According to the National Urban Fellows‘ 2012 Public Service Leadership Diversity Initiative findings, people of color made up one-third, or 36 percent, of the U.S. population — a population that is projected to grow to 54 percent by 2042.
The public service sector — from government and academic think tanks to foundations and nonprofit organizations — must become more inclusive and representative if we are to develop fair and effective structures to fulfill the intention of our democracy.
The Council (Board of Directors) is representative of the Society’s membership and is composed of 25 members from all over Pennsylvania. Leading lives and careers of great accomplishment rooted in service to others, Council members have also helped others to find the path to success in various fields of human endeavors.
“Membership in The Pennsylvania Society brings with it a unique set of benefits and responsibilities,” said Roger W. Richards,” PA Society’s President.
In his first year as president of the historical organization, Richards said membership in the exclusive organization affords opportunities “for renewing friendships and strengthening important associations” while “preserving a remarkable heritage and extending it into the future.”
“In many ways, as members of this organization, we are keepers of a tradition that has planted its footprints in three centuries,” Richards said, proud of the “bonds of friendship, respect, and the pursuit of common causes and goals” members share.
A non-profit, non-partisan patriotic and charitable organization with more than 2,000 members from The Commonwealth, throughout the United States and the world, the PA Society was founded to encourage the ideals of William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.