Community Relations Committee

This committee is responsible for developing strategies for marketing events and activities to the membership and other interested persons or organizations outside of the Chapter. The Committee is also involved in mentoring and other community service projects.

  • Community Relations Chairpersons - Adrienne Austin (Con Edison) and Blondell Lighty (Con Edison).
    Year 2008
    Members of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) attended the annual Martin Luther King anniversary reception and dinner on January 21 at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers. The event was sponsored by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) the third- oldest civil-rights group in the United States. The Honorable Roy Innis, National Chairman of CORE, hosted the event and unveiled the Energy Civil Rights campaign.
    Members of AABE's New York Metropolitan Area Chapter (NYMAC) who attended were Con Edison's William M. Suggs, Priscilla M. Houston, and Diane Fuller, and National Grid's Renee McClure. Rep. Chris Cannon of UT, Morry Davis-Peabody Energy, Bill Suggs-President of AABE-NYMAC at CORE's MLK Dinner in NYC. At the event, CORE unveiled its "Energy Civil Rights" campaign, maked it one of the few civil rights organizations with considerable focus on the current energy debate.
    The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) hosted a reception on April 4, 2008. This organization conducts training in non-traditional law enforcement responses to violence in the schools, community, and family. This reception was to encourage participation and sponsorship for the Annual Conference July 26, 2008 through July 31, 2008 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. AABE-NYMAC Communications Chair, Diane Fuller [Con Edison] represented the chapter.
    The theme of the 32nd annual NOBLE conference is “Taking Law Enforcement Strategies and Community Partnerships to the Next Level”. This will mark the first time that the conference has been hosted in New York City in over twenty years. More than 2,000 delegates attended. Law enforcement topics such as those related to terrorism, crime reduction strategies, prisoner re-entry programs and the rising tide of youth and school violence was discussed.
    AABE-NYMAC 18th Annual Scholarship Awards Reception
    The American Association of Blacks in Energy, New York Metropolitan Area Chapter (AABE-NYMAC) hosted its 18th Annual Scholarship Awards Reception on May 21st, 2008 at Con Edison headquarters, [4 Irving Place, New York, NY] in the corporate auditorium. The program presented four academic scholarships to local high school seniors in pursuit of their college education. Guest speakers included New York City Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott and Barrett Hatches, the president and chief executive officer of Swope Health Services and chief operations officer of Swope Community Enterprises.
    March 2008, AABE-NYMAC President Bill Suggs represented our Chapter at the Rosa Parks Association Democratic Club community meeting. Bill Suggs was also a guest speaker. Discussed AABE with community leaders & elected officials.
    On April 10th AABE-NYMAC visited St. Gregory the Great school in Brooklyn, N.Y. AABE members, Adrienne Austin of Con Edison [EH&S Programs], Diane Fuller of Con Edison [Corporate Communications], David Pearce of Con Edison [Transmission Planning], Phyllis White-Thorne of Con Edison [Public Affairs – Brooklyn], and our Chapter President, William Suggs, spoke with 6th, 7th, & 8th graders about AABE, energy, and careers in the energy industry.
    Each class was enthusiastic and receptive to learning more about the various career opportunities available in the energy field the message. In response, the students shared their professional aspirations.
    April 16, 2008 marked the 2nd annual Career Day at Bea Fuller Rodgers Intermediate School 528. The career day featured professionals from various occupations speaking about their individual decisions, challenges, and backgrounds in hopes of inspiring young students to pursue traditional and non-traditional roles in the workplace. Representatives from AABE NYMAC included: Gina Callender of Con Edison [Queens Gas Operations], Monica Harte of Con Edison [Manhattan Gas Operations], Darryl Taylor of Con Edison [Brooklyn/Queens Energy Services], along with Michele Roett of Con Edison [Talent Management].
    Each AABE NYMAC representative addressed the young audience outlining strategies for how to determine career paths and pinpointing courses to study. Additionally, they stressed the importance of self-confidence, self-worth and self-determination. Furthermore, they discussed personal obstacles, such as serving as a supervisor in a non-traditional male dominated workplace.
    They also discussed AABE and how current studies and extracurricular activities help students gain internships and earn scholarships, like the one AABE provides to qualified high school students. In the end, the students were encouraged to continue studying hard and to "reach for the stars".
    GED Plus School
    It is our goal to gain greater visibility of AABE/NYMAC and better serve the students in the schools in our service area by providing them information about careers in the energy industry. This will give us an opportunity to spread the word about AABE.
    NYS Senator Eric Adams “Cradle to College” Forum at Medgar Evers College, August 2008
    AABE-NYAMC & Con Ed. supported this event by providing parents and students with information about careers in energy.
    The American Association of Blacks in Energy Executive Networking Reception Hosted by Mr. Kevin Burke, President/CEO at Consolidated Edison Company of N.Y., Inc This event was held September 26, 2008, 6pm-8pm here at 4 Irving Place, the Consolidated Edison headquarters in New York City. Kevin Walker American Electric Power CIO/SVP was the keynote speaker which discussed “Changes in the Energy World and the impact to our Quality of Life”. Guest included:  NYS Commissioner Galen Kirkland Div. of Human Rights, NYS Deputy Commissioner Thomas Shanahan Div. of Human Rights, NYS Assemblyman Karim Camara, Dale DeGale represented Congr. Yvette Clarke, NYC 43rd District Leader Jesse Hamilton, Esq.
    AABE/NYMAC and Con Edison Develops a partnership with NYS DHR Comm. Kirkland & Deputy Comm. Shanahan involving community out reach program. (See Bill Suggs for letter on file).
    AABE/NYMAC Support Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke 1st Job Fair. (Read Caribbean Life News Paper Article dated Nov 5, 2008).
    Nov. 2008 AABE/NYMAC supported forum hosted by the Hispanic Energy Coalition
    Wilton Cedeno-AABE/NYMAC participated on panel discussion.
    AABE-NYMAC Supports NSBE
    Members from AABE (Samuel King-Nabi, Kelit Alazar, and Stephen Haynes) had the opportunity to go to the NSBE meeting the week of 1/4/09. It was great to see that just like us they are looking to branch out and network with other organizations as act as a source of empowerment for our communities. Equally enjoyable was the info session on Indian Point’s Nuclear Power Plant by Entergy, the presentation by Ruby Saake, Summer and College Intern Coordinator for NYC School Board funded internships in the sciences, tutoring at Cooper Union for High School Students and last but not least the NSBE National Conference. 
    In the end NSBE expressed their gratitude for our presence and looks forward to reciprocating in the same manner to develop a relationship beneficial for us both.
    Amin-Shakirat Ameen.
    Membership Chairperson
    AABE/NYMAC participated at the Rosa Parks Democratic Club community meeting. In attendace were Jesse E. Hamilton III, ESQ., President & 43rd District Leader, Wm. Suggs-AABE/NYMAC President, Darlene Mealy-NYC 41st District Council Member, Letitia James-NYC 35th District Council Member, and Members of Community
    Year 2009
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner
    The 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner, "Living the Dream" 2009, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was held Monday, January 19, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. This event also celebrated the next-day inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, the first African-American to hold the highest office in the U.S.A. and leader of the free world. 
    Roy Innis-National Chairman of CORE, Niger Innis-National Chairperson and Master of Ceremonies, and Pat Boone were speakers at the event. AABE-NYMAC members who attended were Ameen Shakirat, Yolande Dempster, Sam King-Nabi and Sonja Millington. 
    AABE-NYMAC members pledged their support to continue the pursuit of civil rights for all people and to participate in CORE's lobby for affordable energy in underprivileged neighborhoods.
    The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) held its 23rd Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday January 19, 2009, at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. 
    The Keynote Speaker, Minnijean Brown Trickey - one of the Little Rock Nine. 
    The presentations were followed with Free Film screenings in BAM Rose Cinemas: Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later.  
    “This was a wonderful celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” said Blondell Lighty.
    AABE supported NYU/POLY
    The Polytechnic Institute of NYU Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers invited all NSBE Members and friends in the New York Metro and New Jersey area to the NYU - Poly Black History Celebration: "The Harmonies of Liberty - Reflections of Action", held on February 6, 2009, at NYU-Poly in Brooklyn.                                              
    This celebration was intended to show the importance of Black History not only to the genealogy of African Americans but its importance to the saga of America. The event showcased many African- American talents from NYC in tribute of this year's Black History Month. 
    The Event was headlined by a Special Black History Presentation by Mr. Carl B. Mack, Executive Director of NSBE World Headquarters!! 
    Special Guests:
    - Mr. Enrique Gonzalez, CEO of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers
    - Ms. Letitia James, City Councilwoman
    - Mrs. Viola Greene-Walker, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board #16
    - Ms. T.C. Westcott, NYU Poly VP of Finance & Admin
    - Mr. Adofo Muhammad, Principal of the Bedford Academy
    The Job Fair at St. Gregory's Church
    The American Association of Blacks in Energy, New York Metropolitan Area Chapter (AABE-NYMAC), in partnership with St. Gregory the Great Church, hosted a Job Fair. The Job Fair February 19, 2009, at St. Gregory's Church located at 991 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY.
    AABE-NYMAC supported Freedom Academy Career Day, April 2009
    On behalf of Freedom Academy High School and ACCESS FOR WOMEN thank you all for your stellar presentations at the recent College Fair. I had an opportunity to sit in or look in on all your presentations. The information was presented in an interactive fashion that engaged the students. There were rich question and answer periods, and many of you came with ample quantities of take away items for the participants. 
    Your willingness to give of your time and expertise, to enlighten and motivate NYC public high school students, plants seeds that we believe will bear a rich harvest in their future endeavors. 
    Sandra A. Brannon
    New York City College of Technology
    ACCESS FOR WOMEN Department
    I would like to personally thank AABE for participating in our annual Career Fair this year. Our community appreciates that you took the time out of your busy schedules to speak to our students. I do hope that we can continue to work together in the future. 
    Thank you,
    Alyson Forde, Principal
    Freedom Academy
    AABE-NYMAC 2009 Scholarship Reception
    On the evening of June 8, 2009, AABE-NYMAC awarded four scholarships to outstanding area students. The reception took place in the headquarters of Consolidated Edison, Inc. at its Manhattan location. 
    The invocation delivered by Janice Fareed-Hardy, an ordained reverend and Con Edison employee. Scholarship awards winners were Regina Hodge, Ben Antoine, St. Claire Bramble, and Kenneth Bermudez. 
    The keynote speaker, Eden Alvarez-Backus, vice president, global leadership, learning and development, National Grid, emphasized five points in her speech that will guide them in college and throughout their lives.
    The five points are:
    1) Be respectful and open to diversity
    2) Embrace and drive change
    3) Find something you are passionate about and make that your calling.
    4) Master the art of lifelong learning
    5) Manage your brand…everyone has a brand, whether or not you know it… Every action you demonstrate and every word you make builds or breaks your brand. Guard your brand carefully as it takes very little to destroy it and a lot to rebuild it. You are responsible for your brand. 
    More than 40 individuals attended the reception including the scholarship winner, their families and mentors, and AABE-NYMAC members including chapter President  William M. Suggs.
    Tour at the Learning Center for Elected Officials and Public Officials
    On June 12, 2009, AABE-NYMAC arranged a tour held at the Consolidated Edison Company Training and Learning Center hosted by Mr. Kevin Burke, CEO for Consolidated Edison Company, Inc. and organized by Ms. Blondell Lighty, AABE-NYMAC Community Relations Committee Co-Chair.
    The tour provided an overview of Con Edison’s employee training facilities and development programs, showing Con Edison's commitment to provide reliable, safe, and efficient services to its customers.
    The event was a great success with participation from Elected Officials and Public Officials or representatives from their offices.
    Energy Focus Academy, summer of 2009
    The Energy Focus Academy program was hosted by NYU-POLY. The focus of the Academy is to introduce young people ages 11-14, to the possibilities that exist in the energy industry when they study science, engineering and technology. The Academy consisted of a small group of students selected from a review of their academics, ELA scores, brief essay and interview. 
    This is a great accomplishment for the community, NYU/Poly, Con Edison, National Grid, and AABE-NYMAC. Pulling together and implementing an educational program on this level with talented children.
    NYS Senator Eric Adams “Cradle to College” Forum at Medgar Evers College, August 2009
    AABE-NYAMC supported this event by providing parents and students with information about careers in energy.
    Joint membership meeting with AABE-NYMAC & ABP
    Paula Jackson, AABE National Director of Communications, visited with the New York Metropolitan Area Chapter (NYMAC) and the Alliance of Black Professionals at National Grid Brooklyn HQ in October 2009.  This was an outstanding opportunity to hear directly from our members and to speak directly with key energy company representatives. “The experience was mutually beneficial, and I hope to repeat as time and resources permit.” said Paula Jackson.
    AABE-NYMAC Celebrates Energy Awareness Month
    New York, NY Oct. 24, 2009 -- October is Energy Awareness Month and AABE-NYMAC was profiled to attendees at the recent Fresh Fire Ministries International Conference sponsored by Advisory Board Member and former chapter president, Janice Fareed-Hardy at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. 
    Also attending were current NYMAC President, William Suggs and his son, former president Debra Smallwood, and chapter members, Pamela Mason, Shakirat Ameen, Membership Committee Chairperson and Allison Skeete-Hadaway.
    Brochures, and information about the organization and its focus were provided and members discussed the importance of energy awareness within our community and the role of AABE-NYMAC in helping our community to improve the way we use energy today and in the future.
    Information about the annual AABE-NYMAC Scholarship was also provided. Many participants were eager to learn more about it and the sustaining mentorship opportunity for students awarded an AABE-NYMAC scholarship.  Scholarship winners are matched with a volunteer mentor from the chapter who works with them throughout their college years.  Applications for the 2010 graduating class will be available shortly for members to provide within their communities.
    AABE-NYMAC supported the African American Environmentalist Association
    On October 30, 2009, New York stakeholders from environmental, public policy and community outreach groups to discuss New York’s energy concerns, environmental justice, green jobs and more!
    The event was held at City University of NY Graduate Center-Segal Theatre 365 Fifth Avenue New York, New York
    Theme “Air Quality & Electricity:
    Why it Matters to You
    Panelists include:
    Frank Stewart, AABE National President
    Craig Wilson,
    Samara Swanston;
    Amber Sission; and
    Norris McDonald, African American Environmentalist Association
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