Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
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(L to R) Event MC Pat Gardenhire,Stephanie Jones, Gary Gordon and Dramatist Reverand Dolores Lakey Stewart.

Diversity Lunch Hour Presentations Begin with Black History Month Celebration
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 03/2009

District 7 brings on the local talent, noise and funk in honor of Black History month.

District 7 employees celebrated Black History Month on February 11 by listening to an African drummer, a saxophonist, a spoken word artist, a singer and a dramatist at a lunchtime presentation sponsored by the Caltrans United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Committee.

While they listened, employees ate barbeque platters, pre-purchased through the committee. Before the formal entertainment began (saxophonist Robert Colvin played background jazz as employees retrieved their lunches and settled in), District Director Doug Failing shared some thoughts with the group.

“This event is part of celebrating our diversity and all the advantages that brings,” Failing said. “We are the best district in the state and we’ll stay that way because of you.” He also mentioned the UNCF Walk for Education on May 16, noting that it was an event which could be enjoyed by everyone. “I appreciate the fact that it’s a walk at Doug’s pace, not at Tad’s (District 7 Project Management Deputy Tad Tefari, a marathon runner) pace.”

The group also heard from District 7 External Affairs Deputy Deborah Robertson, the Caltrans UNCF sponsor. Robertson mentioned that this event was the beginning of what she hopes will become a monthly occurrence, with all of the Diversity Day groups taking a turn at hosting. She also thanked event sponsor California Bear Credit Union.

Many of the entertainers were home-grown or at least “Caltrans-adjacent.” They included African drummer/Environmental Planner Francis Appiah; Saxophonist/Transportation Engineer Robert Colvin; Office Technician/Singer Gary Gordon; and Spoken Word Artist Lamont Web, who just happens to be the son of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Manager Gwiin Correa. Only one of the performers was imported – Reverend Dolores Lakey Steward, Dramatist.

For those unable to attend, Inside 7 reports that you missed a very enjoyable lunch hour and thanks the District 7 UNCF Committee for organizing the event. Participating committee members include: Stephanie Jones; Labell Washington; Darryl Mays; Ozell Wilson; Barbara Levise; Joyce Gresham; Carmen Roberts; Cheryl Kizer; Raashan Bernard; Nikita Peterson; Morris Brown; Pat Gardenhire; Sim Green; Deborah Robertson; Carmen Roberts; Susan Harris; and Gwiin Correa.

In addition to the May 16 walk, upcoming UNCF events include a Woman’s Day program on March 11; a Hoop Tournament on April 16 and 17; and a Golf Tournament on May 16.

A true showman, African drummer/Environmental Planner Francis Appiah beats a cold by beating hs drum. Office Technician (and Caltrans Idol, if there was one) Gary Gordon belts out 'A Change is Gonna Come.' All in the Caltrans family: External Affairs Deputy Deborah Robertson (L), EEO Manager Gwiin Correa,her parents and children celebrate Black history. Saxophonist and Transportation Engineer Rob Colvin treats the audience to some smooth jazz.