National Society of Black Engineers Nixed Florida Convention



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The National Society of Black Engineers has decided to relocate its annual convention from Orlando, Florida, to Atlanta.

Amid rising concerns about racist practices and harmful legislation regarding sexual orientation, gender, and guns, the group’s leaders no longer feel the state of Florida is an appropriate backdrop for attendees, according to Inside Higher Ed. “When we’re looking at all that’s going on down in Florida right now, we’re thinking about, ‘Is that the backdrop we want for this celebration?’” said Avery Layne, the group’s national chairperson. “We have members that go all the way from professionals in industry to collegiate students down to pre-college students down to the third-grade level.” Janeen Uzzell, the group’s chief executive officer, said a move of this magnitude would cost upwards of $1.2 million; however, they all feel it’s worth it.

The National Society of Black Engineers is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country, according to the group’s website. Founded in 1975, the group’s mission is to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” The more than 600 chapters and 24,000 members support and promote the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. This year’s convention took place in Kansas City, Missouri, and was sponsored by American Express, Bridgestone Tires, and Dell Technologies.

NSBE’s leaders have already begun making the necessary changes to relocate next year’s convention in light of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement that the state’s DEI efforts would end on July 1. “We are going to treat people as individuals; we’re not going to treat people as members of groups,” DeSantis said in a press conference about his decision. Florida has been at the center of rolling back critical race theory in schools and taking gross measures to reverse the work done by civil rights leaders and activists.

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