Students at R. Frank Nims Middle School wrapped up their Black History Month (BHM) celebration with a “Special Dialogue” featuring Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Ronald Brisé on February 24. Throughout the month, the school observed BHM with a broad variety of programs such as a soul food sampler, fashion show, and poetry performance.
A frank and motivational speech by Chairman Brisé on the meaning of black history for young Americans culminated Nims’ BHM program series. Students were challenged to honor the legacy of African-Americans in our nation’s history without assuming that blacks are “special” because of the color of their skin. Chairman Brisé emphasized the dignity and value of all humans regardless of their skin color as expressed in the Constitution of the United States of America.
Chairman Brisé told students that the legacy of African-Americans in American history is a story of perseverance, hard work, and faith, and it benefits us all to remember and honor these strengths. He recounted the value of perseverance by highlighting Otis Boykin, whose invention was key to developing the pacemaker despite his inability to finish his graduate studies. Students were able to relate to the example of basketball star Jeremy Lin who, when afforded the opportunity, succeeded through perseverance and hard work.
Students were told that the best way to honor their forefathers’ legacy was to be well-prepared to seize opportunities. Chairman Brisé closed by reminding students that, “it is important to recognize the collective history of the United States regardless of the color of your skin. This way, all Americans can celebrate black history every day.”
Chairman Brisé is the seventh African-American to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission, since its beginning in 1887. Last December, he was elected by his peers to Chair the Commission through January 2014.
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