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Black Family Awareness Week celebrates STEM achievement and interests during Black History Month

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Black Family Technology Awareness Week (BFTAW) is a national public awareness campaign designed to encourage more African Americans to incorporate technology into their daily lives.  It is a nationwide program to educate and empower families – multiple generations, not just youth – through technology. Partners include community, corporate, and professional supporters who host events in cities throughout the United States to help families and communities learn about career opportunities in technology, engineering, science and math (also referred to as STEM by me and many others), as well engage them in fun learning games and gadgets to help individuals become aware of the many ways that technology improves our lives.

It is usually celebrated during the second week of February and naturally supplements local Black History Month Celebrations offering a Tech & STEM emphasis to the month-long celebration of Black Achievement in the Diaspora.  I first became aware of Black Family Technology Awareness Week in 2008 from Wayne Hicks, also known as @Villager – Author of The Electronic Village and elder of the (then) emergent Black Blog-o-sphere. As Executive Director for the Black Data Processing Associates Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) and social media leader, he helped spread the word about the community service (also known as  Tech/STEM outreach) that members of the computer science and information technology professional organization supported in local and national initiatives.

My interests in STEM outreach found a natural nomadic place to visit; and I have been able to participate in a couple local BFTAW events during my time in Missouri. The Kansas City area hosts a week of engaging events including a big BFTAA Youth Technology Fair which includes a big VEX Robotics competition and Science Fair competition, as well as an Awards program.

Black Family Technology Awareness Association of Kansas City
Hosts the 9th annual Kansas City African American S.T.E.M. Leader Awards

Kansas City, MO. The Black Family Technology Awareness Association (BFTAA) of Kansas City announces that it would host The 9th Annual African American S.T.E.M. Leader Awards (formerly the African American Technology Awards), February 15th 20013. The African American S.T.E.M. Leader Awards will be held at the Google Fiber Space, 1820 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO. 5:30 to 8:00pm. S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Tours of the Google Fiber Space and networking reception 5:30 – 6:30, Awards show 6:30 to 8:00pm

February 10th through the 16th is Black Family Technology Awareness Week. An important part of Black Family Technology Awareness Week involves recognition of African Americans that are making contributions in various Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields. We’ve got to recognize people who are doing such wonderful things” Michael Carter, Chairman and CEO Carter Broadcasting Group, Inc. (2007 Technology Award recipient)

The Black Family Technology Awareness Association will recognize African American S.T.E.M. pioneers, and bright, up-and-coming men and women who are shaping the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Black Family Technology Awareness Week was founded by Career Communications Group, Inc. (CCG), publisher of Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine and US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine and is sponsored by the IBM Corporation and cosponsored by Kraft Foods and Lockheed Martin. In addition, CCG founded and produces the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference, and the Women of Color Technology Awards Conferences.

I was surprised and honored when the Kansas City Black Family Technology Awareness Association nominated me for an award. (I teared up a little when I got the official nomination letter.)   I’ll stay on for the next day and check out the Youth Technology Fair / VEX Robotics Competition. (You know I had to.) Both of these events are free and open to the public. So, if you are able to join come out, then I promise it will be a blast. Plus, I would love to see you there.

Kansas City BFTAA STEM Leader Awards
Friday, February 15, 2013  5:30pm – 9:00pm
Google Fiber Space
1820 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
open to the public
RSVP is required. More details here.

Kansas City BFTAA Youth Technology Fair and VEX Robotics Competition
Saturday, February, 16, 2013  10:00am -3:00pm
Southeast Community Center
4201 E 63rd St
Kansas City, MO 64130
open to the public

Whether you can make it to Kansas City or not, I hope you are able to engage in Black Family Technology Awareness Week in your community. To assist, here are some Technology Resources for you and your family/community.

The Black Family Network
Black Data Processing Association (BDPA)
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF)
BFTAW 2013 in New York
The Black Family Technology Awareness Association of Kansas City

Please feel free to share your local BFTAA Week (or similar) events with me.

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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