The year is off to a roaring start with a series of important events already on the Association’s calendar. The January 12th “Conservation on Energy” held here in Washington featured AABE members Carolyn Green, Rod West, Christopher Womack, Gaurdie Banister, Jr., and Lloyd Yates. AABE was delight to have the opportunity to support the work of Black Enterprise under the sponsorship of Shell to put on this event. The attendees of the day-long session heard from the Environmental Protection Agency about the responsibilities that it is trying to meet and that hopes that it has for the improved health of the nation.
This year is going to have energy and environmental issues at the forefront of America’s business and political agendas. As in the past, interpreting and sharing information on, and analysis of, these issues with our communities will fall to us, the members of AABE. The Legislative Issues and Public Policy Committee will be principally responsible for keeping abreast of key policy concerns, and the Communications Committee will see to it that the information gets to you. This is our central mission; this is what we were founded to do.
We should all be reminded that 2010 is a census year and how important it is to each of our communities that there be an accurate accounting of African Americans and other minorities. The distribution formulae for federal funds (LIHEAP, Weatherization, etc.) are nearly always based on census data. But more importantly, the information that accurately describes our community, that speaks to the growth or loss, that shows progress or regression are important for our own understanding of our lives here in America. Please do what you can to encourage everyone you know to participate in the 2010 census.
The tragedy in the nation of Haiti has dominated much of our thought over the last several weeks and, although donating money may be all that we can do at this time, many of us in the energy industries have committed to doing what we can to rebuild the earthquake ravaged island. The National Office has been in touch with, Gary Ward, the Director of the Office of Caribbean and Latin American Affairs in the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs to offer whatever assistance the Association can provide in the effort to re-power and rebuild the energy infrastructure of Haiti. Indeed, a number of AABE members are already working hard to restore power to those hard hit communities, and we can expect to see some very dramatic progress over the next days and weeks. Our prayers go out to the people of Haiti and to those in southern Florida and elsewhere who have family and friends who are still there.
A quick “Shout out” to the Florida chapter and to the African American Professional Employee Group (AAPEG) with whom, I had the opportunity to meet on January 8th. I always appreciate the time that I get to engage with chapters and am honored when you invite me to meet with your membership. We had a great discussion about AABE’s plans for 2010 and the opportunities for energy entrepreneurship especially in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Florida chapter and the AAPEG are in marvelous position to share their experience in renewable energy technologies with minority energy professionals across the nation. We could all profit greatly from their work.
Finally, as we begin another exciting year, I’d like to invite you all to be a part of the discussion. We have a very active Linked In group page where you can connect with other members around the country. You’ll also find postings about events that we are sponsoring and / or participating in. The National Office is committed to providing you with as much information as possible in as many mediums as possible. So, check our website, Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Participate in our webinars. And most importantly, let us know how we’re doing. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. And remember, it is your talents which make this a great organization so get involved.
This is sure to be an exciting year and I look forward to our working together.