observance during Black History Month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh
District hosted speakers from the National Society of
Black Engineers Pittsburgh Professionals Chapter, and the Pittsburgh Urban
League, Feb. 25.
Riedolia Moore-Ellis, President of the National Society of
Black Engineers Pittsburgh Professionals Chapter and Lachelle Binion from the Pittsburgh Urban
League, spoke to an audience of 39
district personnel. The pair held a discussion about the benefits and
importance of cultural diversity within the engineer field, and how their
individual organizations can help to create opportunities. The overall goal of
the event was outreach, networking and partnership planning for the future.
“We want to get the word out about the
community-based organizations that fit with the values of U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers” said Robert Turner, Pittsburgh District equal opportunity officer.
The program provided Pittsburgh
District employees an opportunity to gain a better understanding of two organizations
with aligned engineering interest from the area. Additionally, it was a chance
for those outside organizations to define roles that partners can play to
enhance diversity and teamwork among engineering peers.
According to Jeanine Hoey,
Engineering and Construction Branch chief, helping these two organization grow
can help the engineering field continue to diversify and strengthen future
“As these organizations get up
and running with technical programs, we can participate with their programs,
help present features and offer support similar to what we offer organizations
such as the Society of American Military Engineers,” said Hoey.
Recognizing the role diversity
plays in building a strong organization, Turner encourages members of the
organization to not only attend diversity programming, but to become a part of
the solution through increased communication.
“We’re so happy to have had the
opportunity to speak here because opportunities like these can lead to
partnerships that move us forward as a people,” said Turner.
But, the event was about more
than the organizations and partnering – it was about Black History.
History.com traces Black
History Month’s roots to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson promoted the idea of celebrating
black culture over the course of the second week in February. The week was
intended to be a celebration of the culture, contributions, and history of
Americans whose ancestors are derived from the African continental diaspora.
Woodson chose the second week
because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The week long observation eventually expanded to encompass all of February and
garner recognition from every U.S. president since 1976.
At the end of the event, each
speaker was presented with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coffee mug and a
commanders’ coin in appreciation for their contribution the district’s Black
History Month event.
“Black History Month is an
important opportunity to celebrate diversity, and a way to inform all people of
the contributions and rich history of African Americans” notes Turner.
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