Montford Point Marines, Harriet Tubman, department heads, state leaders recognized for groundbreaking contributions as the MWRD waves the flag

Black History Month
MWRD commissioners and elected officials gathered to raise the Pan-African flag on Feb. 4, waving proudly in front of the MWRD headquarters for the first time. A short time later, other government institutions and leaders followed with flag raisings of their own throughout the state.

 

African American history makers celebrated during February at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). Besides serving as a leader in protecting the regional water environment and encouraging diversity in the workplace, the MWRD blazed a trail of its own by raising the Pan-African flag for the first time while recognizing the notable contributions of many African American icons, like the Montford Point Marines and Harriet Tubman.

 

Black History Month
In the photo (L-R): Commissioner Josina Morita, Commissioner Kim Du Buclet, Secretary of State Jesse White, former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, Commissioner Debra Shore and Commissioner Frank Avila.

 

The accomplishments of the many local African American history makers were celebrated throughout Black History Month at the MWRD headquarters, 100 E. Erie St. in Chicago. Events coordinated by MWRD Vice President Barbara McGowan included speakers and panel discussions that also recognized African American state leaders and the first African American department heads at the MWRD. The discussions offered overviews in advancing diversity while also acknowledging the challenges and rewards related to their achievements.

 

 

Black History Month
(L-R): Former IT Director Keith Smith, Vice President Barbara McGowan and Human Resources Director Beverly Sanders.
Black History Month
Kathryn Harris, also known as Harriet Tubman, answers a Dett Elementary School student’s question.

 

 

To kick off festivities, the MWRD held a flag raising ceremony on Feb. 4 for the first time raising the flag and welcoming key figures in the African Ameri­can community, including: Secretary of State Jesse White; Illinois Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.; Cook County Board President Toni Preck­winkle; Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough; Ald. Derrick Cur­tis (18th Ward); Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th Ward); Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward); Ald. Wal­ter Burnett (27th Ward); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward); Ald. Emma Mitts (37th Ward); and Karl Brinson, President, Westside NAACP. Local African American historian Dr. Conrad Worrill also spoke to about the history and symbolism behind the flag and the African American men and women who created a path for others to follow. The flag was lowered on March 3.

 

Black History Month
Front Row (L-R): Montford Point Marines Staff Sergeant James Reynolds Jr., Sergeant Frank Thrasher and Montford Point Marine Association Exec. Director Sharon Stokes Parry. Back Row (L-R) Diversity Administrator Regina Berry, Vice President Barbara McGowan, Exec. Director Brian Perkovich.