OECD to highlight personal stories and perspectives at Black History Month virtual forum on 24 February – OECD Newsroom


A panel of distinguished speakers will share personal stories and unique perspectives on the histories and contributions of Black Americans during a online symposium hosted by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares in honor of Black History Month.

As the latest in a series of OECD events themed “Know My Name, My Face and My Story”, the presentation will be streamed live from 3:30-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 for those who register. in advance on link.oecd.us/colloquium. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and others who educate and support students are encouraged to register to attend.

“Black History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, but it’s also a time to take a fresh look at educational, health, economic and cultural trends. that impact our communities and our collective future,” County Superintendent Mijares said. “This symposium will give attendees a chance to hear unique perspectives and insights that can help us better understand where we are in 2022 and where more progress is needed, because Black American history is our history, in as a county and as a nation. ”

The origins of Black History Month can be traced to the efforts of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans who established the Association for the Study of Life and History. blacks. In 1926, the association devoted a week to promoting the achievements of African Americans. February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Since 1976, every US president has officially designated February as Black History Month. Other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also set aside a month to celebrate black history.

The virtual OECD Forum on February 24 is free for those who register on link.oecd.us/colloquium. Here are the speakers announced so far:


Christopher Downing, Ed.D
Superintendent, Anaheim Elementary School District

Currently in his 33rd year of school, Dr. Christopher Downing leads 24 schools in the Anaheim Elementary School District, which is the largest elementary district in Orange County and the second largest in the state.

Chris Downing
Dr Chris Downing

Dr. Downing previously served as local district superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he emphasized high-quality instruction and differentiated support to some of Los Angeles’ most traditionally underserved schools. Angeles. It has also initiated partnership programs with community colleges to provide dual enrollment programs at all middle and high schools in the local district.

In the fall of 2019, Dr. Downing was selected as the Fourth District PTA Administrator of the Year. In 2020, he received the Maureen DiMarco Award for Leadership from the Orange County School Boards Association.


Robert V. McDonald
President and Executive Director, Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce

Robert “Bobby” McDonald is an effective community and business leader with accomplished sales and marketing skills. He is an outstanding community and veteran speaker, author, advocate and historian.

bobby mcdonald
bobby mcdonald

McDonald is currently President and Executive Director of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce. Under his leadership, which spans more than 30 years, the chamber has consistently worked with minority business associations, local chambers and legislators to provide support and advocacy for the county’s many small business owners.

Along with the development of the chamber’s educational outreach programs, McDonald, who served in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1968, established business network programs for veterans. Through a partnership with Explorer Studios, it also supported the production of two award-winning educational films, “Building the Dream” about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC and “History of the Buffalo Soldiers.”


Ian O. Williamson, Ph.D.
Dean, UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Dr. Ian O. Williamson was appointed Dean of the UCI Paul Merage School of Business in January 2021. Prior to joining UCI, he served as Professional Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Commerce at the Wellington School of Business and Government from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr. Ian O. Williamson
Dr. Ian O. Williamson

Dr. Williamson is an internationally recognized expert in the field of human resource management. His research examines the impact of “talent pipelines” on organizational and community outcomes, and he has helped executives in more than 20 countries on six continents improve business operational and financial results, improve recruitment and retain talent, drive business innovation, and understand the impact of social issues on business results.

Dr. Williamson’s research has been published in leading academic journals and covered by media around the world. He has personally served on the editorial boards of several leading publications, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Education and Learning, Journal of Management, and Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal and Journal of Management.

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