Skip to main content

SEC Celebrates African American History Month


Washington D.C., March 2, 2018 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission this week concluded its month of celebrations, events, and remembrances – at its Washington, D.C. headquarters as well as in regional offices around the country –in honor of African American History Month. With the help and leadership of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) and the SEC’s African American Council, the SEC highlighted this year’s national theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” and held a number of events celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the United States. Highlights of African American History Month at the SEC included a keynote address by Command Sergeant Major Michael L. Gragg of the U.S. Army Medical Command and a roundtable discussion on diversity hosted by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

“I am grateful to my colleagues across the agency for putting together an outstanding series of events in celebration of African American History Month,” said Chairman Clayton. “The candid discussions we had at the roundtable on diversity and the lessons and perspectives shared by Command Sergeant Major Gragg reflect our commitment to promoting understanding and inclusion at the SEC. I encourage everyone to continue to celebrate the diversity that strengthens our agency throughout the year.”

Commissioner Kara M. Stein, who serves as Chair of the SEC’s Diversity Council, remarked, “To be successful at promoting diversity and inclusion in our capital markets at all levels, we must first look introspectively and take steps to promote diversity and inclusion at the SEC. Celebrating African American History Month and holding events like the ones we have had over the last few weeks help us to do this. I appreciate Chairman Clayton’s active engagement and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion at the SEC.”

The SEC kicked off its celebration of African American History Month with a networking event designed to bring greater awareness of African American history and culture. It also hosted local university students interested in the work of the SEC at an event in honor of African American History Month titled “Financial Literacy and Your Future.”

Following the “Financial Literacy and Your Future” event, OMWI director Pamela Gibbs remarked, “Our goal is to encourage diverse college students to consider the SEC as a place for a meaningful internship and future employment, which is why we create opportunities for students to connect directly with our professional staff. We also want them to be aware of the careers available in the financial services industry more broadly and to understand how important the capital markets are to our nation’s economy and their own financial future.”

Other programming during the month included a presentation by the Philadelphia Regional Office on the life of Octavius Catto, a prominent 19th century Pennsylvania civil rights leader; a presentation by the New York Regional Office on Manhattan’s African Burial Ground National Monument; and weekly written features on African American military leaders, such as Vice Admiral James W. Crawford III, the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General, and Retired Marine Corps Captain Vernice Armour, the first African American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces.

The SEC is also proud to commence its celebration of Women’s History Month. Events include a panel event, networking event and financial information session hosted by the SEC Women’s Committee in partnership with other SEC offices, as well as a keynote address by U.S. Army General Flora D. Darpino (Ret.), the first female judge advocate general of the U.S. Army.

 Left to right: Olawale Oriola, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, Naseem Nixon, Chairman Jay Clayton

Olawale Oriola, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, Naseem Nixon, and Chairman Jay Clayton at the SEC's African American History Month Celebration.


Return to Top