John Smierciak, Associated Press
FILE - In this July 31, 2009 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden addresses the 2009 National Urban League Conference in Chicago. Biden will join Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as speakers at the 2014 conference, July 23-26, in Cincinnati.

CINCINNATI — Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and a top executive of the world's largest retailer are among speakers for the upcoming National Urban League Conference, the civil rights organization said Monday.

The organization expects some 8,000 participants at the meeting in downtown Cincinnati's convention center. The theme of the July 23-26 conference is "One Nation Underemployed: Bridges to Jobs and Justice."

Biden is set to speak Thursday, with other participants including Paul, R-Kentucky; Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear; civil rights activist and TV commentator Al Sharpton, and Bill Simon, president and CEO of the U.S. stores division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. , the National Urban League said.

The second-term vice president hasn't ruled out a run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, while Paul is mulling a run for the Republican nomination. There's also speculation that Kasich could join the field if he wins re-election this fall.

Adding to Ohio's swing state importance in 2016, the Republican Party plans to hold its national convention in Cleveland, while Columbus is still in the running for the Democratic convention.

Sacramento, California, Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard originally drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman are among city leaders taking part.

Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who heads the National Urban League, praised the host city in a statement for progress in its downtown development and "a sea change" in police-community relations since 2001 race riots.

Panel discussions will include progress and unfinished business 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the conference also features celebrations of African-American culture and music. Actor Forest Whitaker will be honored at the conference's Saturday night black-tie gala.

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