The 2013 National BDPA Technology Conference was August 13th through the 18th in our nation’s capital Washington D.C. If you were not there, you should have been. Let me take but a minute to explain to you, share with you the great moments you missed, share with you the moments of personal clarity, and why I think the goals of BDPA should be the goal of every man, woman, and child in this great nation of ours.
The convention was held at the Washington DC Hilton, the same place as the White House Correspondents Dinner. Walking through the lower halls of the hotel behind the main conference room I observed the lined pictures of First Ladies, and settled on the picture of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Her image evoked a moment of thought in me, something so very appropriate to consider in this year, the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I was here at the national convention for the Black Data Processing Associates, the dream of BDPA Founder Earl Pace, which itself is a dream only realized through the arduous but incomplete realization of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a better America, a dream given voice through a lifetime struggle of dreams deferred, realized in the March on Washington which was the brainchild of the duly agreed upon Dean of Black Leadership, A. Philip Randolph.
In my musings I realized the history behind my solitary moment in front of the First Lady’s portrait. I am but a commoner, a citizen in this great nation, but my dreams though they be minor, truly are only realized through the efforts of giants, men and women who have made a small space on their shoulders for me to stand. I was grateful. For this reason alone I was proud to be at the conference. You should have been there too.
In the evening I was reminded by one world famous Roland Martin that those of us in technology must make use of the gifts we have been provided. He admonished us to speak to the young people of our nation and explain to them in their own language, the language of bling, ballers, and big dollar shot callers that STEM was the means and the way, the path to the future that far too many of them do not realize they can achieve. We must show them in word and action. This was a proud moment, as the tone he set permeated the room. We felt the energy as the kids gathered there stood and were recognized.
The children in the BPDA High School Computer Competition and the Youth Technology Conference firmly exhibited the motto of BDPA, “From the classroom to the boardroom.” They are the future, and they are excellent.
I must also add that as I looked around the room I was proud to see that BDPA in name exhibited the spirit of minority excellence as opposed to the representation of one ethnicity. In this, in my opinion, it adhered to a fine tradition. The room was filled not just with African-Americans, but people of every ethnicity, open to minorities of all kinds of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, fully supported by the gifts from forward-thinking corporate organizations that realize the economic tomorrow of America is firmly rooted in the efforts of today, strong efforts being made by organizations like BDPA.
These same corporations supported workshops and seminars, many being offered at better than competitive prices. Why should you come to the BPDA National Technology Conference? Why should your company sponsor your trip to the 2014 convention in Indianapolis? Let me make it plain by telling you what was available in Washington D.C.
The BDPA Technology Conference offered an opportunity for you to receive your SCRUM certification (If you’re in IT you know what this is). There were experts presenting on Microsoft Sharepoint, Cloud systems, Mobility, Cybersecurity, and Personal Development. The week was packed, and there was so much to offer you could not conceivable get it all in. Looking for a new opportunity, there was a Career Fair. The convention offered all this and more, including outstanding entertainment in intimate concerts, poetry readings, and cocktail parties … and did I mention the food?
When it was all said and done, BDPA put on a spectacular showing. The kids that competed in our competitions left winners, every last one, for this represents an opportunity unlike any other. We adults left the conference buoyed by our participation in their success, enlightened by the knowledge we gained in the seminars, emboldened by the prospect of making change through STEM, and motivated by Roland Martin’s words telling us to BE that motivation and make it happen.
Consider all I’ve said critically and if you would be intrigued and positively moved to help build the future, then be like Michael Yonkers, a highly energetic Caucasian man attending the conference in a sponsorship capacity who was so moved that he joined BDPA on the spot! This is who we are. This is what we are doing. Join us.
The Aspiring Critical Thinker,
President, Atlanta BDPA