The Department of Commerce strives to create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness that enables employees to participate to their fullest potential. The African American Employment Program (AAEP) enhances the Department’s efforts to comply with the mandates of Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, and Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government.
The AAEP develops, plans, and implements strategies that enable the Department to recruit, hire, promote, and retain a more diverse, qualified workforce. In addition, the AAEP helps the Department address potential discriminatory and/or inequitable practices in hiring and employment and works to eliminate barriers to full participation for AAEP in the workplace.
Program Manager: Monique Dismuke
African American History Month
February is designated as African American History Month or Black History Month to commemorate the rich and varied contributions of African Americans to the culture and history of the United States and the world. Negro History Week was initiated in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., who 11 years earlier founded the Association for the Study of Afro- American Life and History. In those early days, the words Afro and Black were seldom used. It was Dr. Woodson's hope that through this special observance, all Americans would be reminded of their ethnic roots, and that “togetherness” in the United States racial groups would develop out of a mutual respect. Dr. Woodson chose February to recognize Negro History Week because it contains the birthdays of two iconic figures in African American history, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In 1976, Negro History week was expanded to include the entire month of February and became known as "Black History Month", also known today as "African American History Month." From its initiation, African-American History Month has evolved to incorporate the views and expressions of many ethnic and social groups, not just African Americans.
Each February, the Department plans activities designed to provide cultural awareness, debunk stereotypes, and recognize the contributions and achievements of African Americans represented in our workforce.
February 27, 2020
2020 Department of Commerce African American History Month, “Inclusion is on US” Special Presentation: African Americans and the Vote
Video Description: Video of DOC AAHM special observance event with special guest speakers, Mr. Albert E. Fontenot, Jr. and Ms. Cheryl J. Kelley.
On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Office of Civil Rights, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (CFO/ASA), hosted the “Inclusion is on US” Special Presentation: African Americans and the Vote - Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The event was held from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Commerce Auditorium. Featured guest speakers included, Ms. Cheryl Julia Kelley, Poet, Historian and Founding Chair of the Federal Interagency Diversity Partnership and Mr. Albert E. Fontenot Jr., Associate Director, Decennial Census Programs, U.S. Census Bureau. During this insightful and informative presentation, participants had the opportunity to learn about the rich history and long struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote. Mr. Fontenot and Ms. Kelley, highlighted the important contributions of black suffragists to both the African American voting rights movement, as well as, the women’s movement. Through personal experience and poignant narrative of historical events, Mr. Fontenot and Ms. Kelley expounded on the importance of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which made it unlawful to deny any citizen of the United States the right to vote, and the significant events leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Additionally, Mr. Fontenot provide an overview of the current methods and innovations being used to conduct the 2020 Decennial Census and the reason it is vital for all Americans to participate in the Decennial Census.
Presidential Proclamation for National African American History Month
Through bravery, perseverance, faith, and resolve — often in the face of incredible prejudice and hardship — African Americans have enhanced and advanced every aspect of American life. Their fight for equality, representation, and respect motivates us to continue working for a more promising, peaceful, and hopeful future for every American. During National African American History Month, we honor the extraordinary contributions made by African Americans throughout the history of our Republic, and we renew our commitment to liberty and justice for all. like you have under FWP.
The theme of this year’s observance, “African Americans and the Vote,” coincides with the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave African American men the right to vote. This Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1870, prohibits the government from denying or abridging a citizen’s right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Today, this guarantee is enforced primarily throughout the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an enduring legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement.
Read more at the following link: Presidential Proclamation - 2020 National African American History Month.
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