Upstate Urban League President & CEO featured in 2018 State of Black America

May 7, 2018

The National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report, which evaluates the relative social and economic status of African Americans, this year includes commentary from Jil Littlejohn, Urban League President/CEO.

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the important work we’re doing at the Urban League of the Upstate,” Jil Littlejohn said. “Our efforts to expand access to STEM education and careers are a perfect fit to this year’s theme, Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.”

Littlejohn’s essay, entitled “Who Run’s the World? Urban Girls,” can be found at, along with essays and commentary from other Urban League CEOs and leaders in business, government, science and the arts.

An excerpt from Littlejohn’s essay states, “Do black girls rock? Yes, they do! Do Black girls in the Upstate face systematic barriers that keep them from shining through? Yes, they do.”

“I’m extremely proud that we were able to highlight the work of the Urban League of the Upstate and elevate Littlejohn’s voice as we explore the ways that the digital revolution affects the racial, social and economic divide,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “We’re at a historic moment in this latest industrial breakthrough – a moment that is ripe with potential for Black Americans. Initiatives like Urban Girls Rock are key to breaking down barriers and opening the doors of opportunity.

The report annually includes the National Equality Index, a quantitative tool for tracking racial equality in America, inspired by the Three-Fifths Compromise of the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. This year, for the first time, the report also includes a Digital Inclusion Index.

The Digital Inclusion Index answers the question, “Are the new job, business and educational opportunities created by increased digitization of our world being equally shared?”  Like the Equality Index, the Digital Inclusion Index assumes a value of 100% to be full equality between white America and Black America.

The 2018 Digital Inclusion Index is 74.1% and the 2018 Equality Index is 72.5%.

The State of Black America has become one of the most highly-anticipated benchmarks and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in America across economics, employment, education, health, housing, criminal justice and civic participation. Each edition of the State of Black America contains thoughtful commentary and insightful analysis from leading figures and thought leaders in politics, the corporate arena, the nonprofit sector, academia and popular culture.

 “Without full, equitable inclusion into the digital economy, communities of color will continue to be forced to the fringes of every marker of well-being,” Morial said. “Therefore, the National Urban League stands on the digital horizon, poised to secure the promise of the digital future.  And there is no app for that.”