Celebrating Black History and Women History Months

The months of February and March seek to highlight the contributions of African Americans and Women, recognizing that their significant impacts have changed the fabric of the workforce and our communities. In celebration of February's Black History Month and March's Women's' History Month, it is important to embrace the accomplishments of these two diverse groups. To highlight these two extraordinary months, we have included two individuals that have and are continuing the legacy of why 'inclusion' continues to be a top priority.


Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Green was the second African-American woman to receive a doctorate in physics from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is currently an assistant professor at Tuskegee University and stands as one of fewer than 100 black female physicists in the U.S. in a field that is still dominated men. Green recently added one more achievement to an already impressive career by winning a $1.1 million grant to develop a cancer treatment involving lasers and nanoparticles.
In an interview with AL.com Green spoke of her achievement, stating, "It looks like I'm special, but I'm not. I'm no different from anybody else," she said. "When opportunity found me, I was prepared."

Gerald Anderson Lawson

The late Gerald Anderson Lawson, known as Jerry, was one of only two members of color in the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born electronic engineer, taught himself everything he knew about designing. His impressive creation of the Fairchild Channel F video game console separated him from his contemporaries such as Nolan Bushnell and Ralph Baer.
The Fairchild Channel F console, released by Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976, was the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console, as well as the first console to use a microprocessor. It was Lawson's main distinction as the inventor of the video game cartridge, something that seems simple now, that set the standard for how video games were played for the next 30 years.
As we celebrate these two very important and diverse groups of individuals, we propose some very important questions for you to think about regarding your organization: Are you embracing and welcoming the cultural differences within your organization? Have you set plans into place to garner open discussions regarding celebrating the multi-cultural and gender achievements of others? If the answer is yes, then kudos to you and keep up the great work! If the answer is not yet, we encourage you to reach out to us here at the Jacksonville Diversity Council at www.floridadiversitycouncil.org or the Michigan Diversity Council at www.michigandiversitycouncil.org for resources on getting started. Start celebrating the magnificent achievements and the diversity of thought of those around you and watch the magic begin!

Submitted by: Joanne Cruz, SHRM-CP, PHR, Specialist- Associate Relations South Florida-Southeastern Grocer
Darlene King, Executive Director, Michigan Diversity Council

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