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