BLACK HISTORY MONTH IS THE REMEMBRANCE OF NOTABLE PEOPLE AND EVENTS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY THAT HAS BEEN CELEBRATED ANNUALLY IN THE UNITED STATES IN FEBRUARY SINCE 1976. THE REMEMBRANCE HAS ITS ROOTS IN 1926 BY HISTORIAN CARTER G. WOODSON. HE CHOSE THE SECOND WEEK IN FEBRUARY BECAUSE IT MARKED THE BIRTHDAYS OF TWO AMERICANS WHO GREATLY INFLUENCED THE LIVES AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS: FORMER PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND ABOLITIONIST AND FORMER SLAVE FREDERICK DOUGLASS.
The Washington Wizards are proud to honor the great and countless contributions of African Americans. In addition to events throughout the community, the wizards will spotlight and honor various African Americans making a positive difference in their communities. The spotlights will take place during each of the four Wizards home games in February. The Wizards will honor individuals that are making a difference in their communities using the pillars supported by the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The five pillars are Education, Health and Fitness, Hunger and Homelessness, Military and Veteran, and Youth Basketball.
Black History Spotlight Honoree: Nathaniel Cole
Saturday, February 2nd vs. Bucks
MSE Pillar: Education
Nathaniel is a native Washingtonian committed to connecting individuals to meaningful opportunities. Nathaniel joined America’s Promise Alliance in July 2018 to support its commitment to youth across the nation. As the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, he leads the organization’s workforce campaign and supports its membership of over 400 national partners. Previously, Nathaniel served as the Executive Director of Urban Alliance D.C., a nonprofit focused on empowering youth to aspire, work and succeed through paid internships and mentoring. During his eight-year tenure, Nathaniel oversaw the program’s expansion to southern Maryland, as well as new partnerships with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., the Citi Foundation, Venture Philanthropy Partners and businesses across the region.
Nathaniel’s level of intentionality, commitment to community and ability to quickly build authentic relationships has been recognized by the New York Times – “Giving Back to Teenagers,” Capital One as a Community Champion, WHUT as an American Graduate Champion and Bank of America as a Rising Leader through their Neighborhood Builders Award. Nathaniel currently serves on the Board of Leadership Greater Washington as well as the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates.
Nathaniel earned his B.A. in Sociology and Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park. He later earned his M.P.A. from the University of the District of Columbia. Nathaniel is a graduate of D.C. Public Schools and proudly shares this with the youth he serves to inspire the greatness within each of them.
Nathaniel and his wife, Faith T. Cole, reside in Northeast, D.C. They remain centered by their faith, dedicated to their family and inspired to serve by their community.
Black History Spotlight Honoree: Kelly Harper
Game Date: Monday, February 4th vs. Hawks
MSE Pillar: Education
Kelly Harper is a third grade educator in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) who believes that education is a powerful tool for dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Her students engage in culturally relevant lessons, and she embeds social-emotional learning to support her students’ educational journeys. Kelly’s students have testified for additional school funding for science, math and technology in front of the DC City Council, advocated for a Children’s Bill of Rights at the U.S. Capitol to members of Congress, and have written letters to their elected officials about gun violence in their neighborhoods.
She began her educational career as a Teach For America corps member in Houston, TX and was a 2014 Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award Houston Finalist. Eager to return to teach in the city where she was born, Kelly joined DCPS via Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in 2014.
During her time in DCPS, Kelly has served as a teacher-coach, curriculum writer, and was a member of the 2016-2017 DCPS Chancellor’s Teachers’ Cabinet as well as a 2014 TeachPlus D.C. Federal Policy Fellow. Currently, she currently is on her school’s Flamboyan Foundation Family Engagement Leadership Team and is a facilitator for DCPS’ Family Engagement Collaborative.
Most recently, she was selected as the 2019 DC Teacher of the Year and is one of four finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year Award. Kelly earned a B.A. in English from Spelman College and an M.S.Ed. in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Black History Spotlight Honoree: Denice Cora-Bramble
Game Date: Friday, February 8th vs. Cavaliers
MSE Pillar: Pediatric Health & Fitness
Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, is Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Health Services. She is the first female and first minority to ever serve in the role of Chief Medical Officer at Children’s National. In this role, she leads all regional ambulatory clinical operations including eight pediatric subspecialty regional outpatient centers, two emergency departments, seven general pediatrics health centers, twelve pediatric practices, nine school-based health centers, and three mobile medical units, as well as nursing services in DC Public Schools and Public Charter Schools.
She also oversees the telemedicine program and the Children’s National Health Network. Dr. Cora-Bramble has direct responsibility for more than 1,000 physicians, nurses and administrative staff members and oversees a budget of approximately $113 million.
After finishing a bachelor's degree of science at George Washington University, Dr. Cora-Bramble completed medical and pediatric residency training at Howard University and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in medical services management from Johns Hopkins University. Her professional development also included a three year W.K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership fellowship. Dr. Cora-Bramble held several leadership positions at the George Washington University Medical Center and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Cora-Bramble is a professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics. She is the recipient of the highest national honor in community pediatric education, the Academic Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Pediatric Community Teaching Award. In 2016 she was recognized by the Washington Business Journal with a "Woman Who Means Business" Award. She was also featured in the book, Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine, as one of 100 of the most prominent historical and contemporary black women physicians in the U.S.
Black History Spotlight Honoree: Jan Adams
Game Date: Saturday, February 23rd vs. Pacers
MSE Pillar: Military & Veteran
Jan Adams held the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) before retiring from the United States Air Force, after 24 years of outstanding service. From 1984 to 1987 she was a member of the United States Air Forces in Europe, Inspector General Team. She traveled to numerous countries in Europe to assist personnel, in her career field, in their preparation for military readiness. Some of her assignments were: the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece; Osan Air Base, Korea; and Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. From December 2000 to August 2009, Ms. Adams worked as a contractor supporting the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA). She founded JMA Solutions in 2005. Since then, she has grown the company through hiring outstanding staff who assist the FAA and other clients in the areas of acquisition planning, air traffic management, financial management, information technology, program and project management, professional and technical training and software engineering. She currently has 130 full time employees and over 40 percent of her workforce are prior military.
Ms. Adams is active in the community. She serves as a board member for Washington Redskins Corner Back, Josh Norman’s Starz24 charity organization. She is a member of the Air Traffic Control Association and a corporate partner of the D.C. Adopt-a-School program. In 2017 Ms. Adams was appointed by the Mayor of D.C. to be a trustee on the District of Columbia’s Retirement Board providing fiduciary responsibility toward the investment of retirement funds for D.C. teachers, firefighters and police. She is a board member of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Mamie Mallory Education and Scholarship Foundation.
Under her leadership, JMA Solutions has won numerous awards that include ATCA’s Small and Disadvantaged Business Award, INC. 5000’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America, the DC Chamber of Commerce’s Community Impact Award, The Washington Post’s Top Workplaces for the D.C. area, Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader of the Year (2017), and the Disabled American Veterans’ Small Employer of the Year Award.
Ms. Adams was profiled in O, The Oprah Magazine (2018), Entrepreneur Magazine (2018), and Forbes Magazine (2016) and is also an original corporate contributor to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. In 2017, her philanthropic efforts included supporting 50 charitable foundations including the National Down Syndrome Foundation, the USO, the Air Force Association, the Arena Stage and the Disabled American Veterans.
Ms. Adams is a graduate of the Community College of the Air Force. She is the mother of two, grandmother of seven and great grandmother of seven. Ms. Adams has been selected to be inducted into the Washington, DC, Hall of Fame in April 2019.