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A Historic Flag Raising During Black History Month

by Rich Stebbins

The Pan African flag has three equal horizontal bands colored Red

A historic and important event for GSA and the federal government took place at the Denver Federal Center on Wednesday, Feb. 1, to kick off Black History Month.

GSA Region 8 employees raised the Pan-African flag over a federal facility for the first time signifying the important contributions of Black Americans - including Black federal employees - to the nation.

Acting Regional Administrator Penny Grout presided over the event which also included speakers James Foster, past Black Employee Program (BEP) chair, and Tito Register, current BEP chair.

“The raising of the Pan-African flag is an action that marks another step forward in the promise of America and helps set the course for more progress in the future,” said Grout.

Foster added, “With this historical first step, we will be planting a seed, a seed that will grow into a mighty oak tree sure to endure through the ages. This tree will be a symbol of continuing Dr. King’s progress of faith, allowing everyone to work together, pray together, and stand up for freedom together.”

The Pan-African flag was originally created by Marcus Garvey in 1920 to serve as a unifying symbol to connect people of African descent across the globe. While it does not represent one particular nation, the flag and its colors have been widely adopted by Black communities in the century since to honor the shared heritage and relationship between people of the African Diaspora.

This tri-color flag consists of three equal horizontal bands colored Red, Black, and Green. Red symbolizes the blood of the people that is shed in the ongoing struggle for Black liberation. Black represents the people of Black African ancestry. Green represents the abundance and resilience of the Black community, and the vibrant natural wealth of Africa, according to an article on Colorado Public Radio.

“You can’t change history but we can change the future and today, moving forward, this is a historic day for the Denver Federal Center in 2023,” said Register during an interview with a local news station.

Region 8 personnel met to raise the Pan-African Flag for the first time over a federal facility at the Denver Federal Center's G
Region 8 personnel met to raise the Pan-African Flag for the first time over a federal facility at the Denver Federal Center's Gate 1 flagpole.Photograph by Richard Stebbins

The Pan-African flag will fly over the Denver Federal Center for the duration of Black History Month.

Region 8 is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. Each year the region hosts an annual Diversity Program that focuses on the national theme. This flag raising is in addition to the other events we hold year round to support cultural observances.