by Strauder Patton, P.E.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is labeled as the Father of Black History, quotes “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated… Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” Even though Black History Month is widely celebrated and recognized in our everyday media outlets and advertisements, we should take it a step further and leverage our local NSBE chapters to promote the past, present and future contributions of blacks in the areas of science and technology. Our vision makes more sense and our future contributions will be even more impactful if we are aware of our legacies in history.
I encourage you to use this month to celebrate and to make your chapter members and corporate affinity groups aware of African-Americans who have made contributions to science and technology. There are many methods to get the message across: Send daily or weekly messages on Black History facts, host a chapter event to promote Black History Month, partner with another organization, or support a community impact event. The point is that it is important to be active in February. In addition, I suggest that we don’t limit the visibility to only past history, there are so many successful black engineers making things happen today in the present. For example: Don Thompson, President of McDonalds, Dr. Gary May, Dean of Georgia Tech School of Engineering, Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Mel Williams, Deputy Secretary Department of Energy. If you are hosting a Black History Month event with your NSBE chapter, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org your pictures and information, so we can make sure to promote you in our NSBE national communications.
Secondly, Engineers Week (many call it E-Week) will also take place this month (February 19 – 25, 2012). This week is a great opportunity for us to reach out to our communities to promote the industry and the contributions that engineers make on society. I intend to visit a few middle and high schools and speak on the engineering industry and what it’s like to be an engineer. While our NSBE local chapters may participate in similar outreach-type activities throughout the year, it is encouraged that we all are involved together with the national groups and societies who participate in this special week. In fact, NSBE has been a national partner with E-Week for many years. There are many ways to be engaged in E-Week activities if your chapter is interested in partnering in an event. In addition, every major city and university should be sponsoring their own special program. For more information in ways to be involved with Engineers Week, please visit http://www.eweek.org/GetInvolved/GetInvolved.aspx. Once again, please forward me your event pictures and information so we can promote your chapters.
February is an impactful month to carry of the NSBE Mission, so let’s take the advantage of these opportunities!
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