In recognition of Black History Month, we caught up with 100 Black Men of Atlanta Executive Director and COO Louis Negron this week to get his perspective on this important annual celebration.
Headquartered in Atlanta, 100 Black Men is a national organization that supports challenged communities through programs designed to positively impact childhood education, public policy and matters related to economic, social and health issues. Gas South has been fortunate to work with and help support this organization during the last year, and we were excited to talk with Louis about Black History Month.
What brought you to 100 Black Men?
I was called to 100 Black Men. I had unfinished business since leaving Atlanta in 2017, and I wanted to come back and invest my gifts and talents in the children and families here.
How long have you been with the organization, and what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of being in your role?
I’ve been with the organization for a year. Seeing the impact we’re making in the lives of the children and families we work with is the most rewarding aspect. But also rebranding “100” as the premier volunteer mentor and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) organization in Atlanta has been rewarding to me.
From your perspective, why is Black History Month important? What do you consider to be the bigger ideas Americans should focus on during this time each year?
Black History Month is important because it allows the nation and world to focus on the amazing contributions of our ancestors to America and the global culture we influence. Black history can’t be held to just one month—it’s a continual celebration.
I’d love to see America focus on healing from its ills of racism and to grow in love. I quote Howard Thurman: “In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whispers of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.”
Several other countries also celebrate Black History Month. What are your thoughts on the importance of this?
The African Diaspora is a collection of many communities that have a tie to African ancestors, and it’s important we celebrate and embrace our culture and contributions to this world.
Who are your personal top-three, most-revered Black men or women in American History?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, aka Malik el-Shabazz, and my enslaved African ancestors who endured so much for me to be here today.
As the birthplace of Dr. King, do you feel Atlanta has a unique role or voice in leading the advancement and empowerment of Black Americans?
I believe Atlanta influences everything. And as the birthplace of Dr. King, our city has a major role in leading a social, spiritual and economic venue for people of color.
Any new upcoming projects or initiatives you'd like to mention going on with 100 Black Men?
We’re growing our STEM/STEAM Robotics and Coding programming for our children and families. We’ve also partnered with Google to offer digital literacy for parents and adults. And we’re leading the way to bridge Black and Brown communities with our diversity dialogues.
As a company that strives to “Be A Fuel For Good,” Gas South is proud to help support difference makers like 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Click here to read more about this organization and its efforts.