By Michele Kane, Chief of External Affairs
California Prison Industry Authority
The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) hosted its annual Black History Month event at the Green Valley Training Center in Folsom on Feb. 28 with special guest speaker, James C. Shelby, President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL).
Mr. Shelby provided inspirational stories of his life including his family, his military service, and his career.
Mr. Shelby was a founding council member of the City of Citrus Heights and the first African American elected to serve on the Council.
He was elected mayor in 1999 and re-elected in 2003 and 2006. For the past 13 years, he has grown the GSUL to more than 1,000 members.
Mr. Shelby emphasized the importance of respecting each other and that diversity within America is a positive thing.
In keeping with this year’s theme “Civil Rights in America,” members of the Black History Celebration Committee presented CALPIA staff with some historical facts and highlighted some important African-American inventors who made outstanding contributions to this state.
The inventors included Jan Ernst Matzeliger who invented the automated shoe-lasting machine. The same process and principles of manufacturing invented by Mr. Matzeliger, are currently being used in CALPIA’s factories located at California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo, and RJ Donovan in San Diego.
Besides the informational and inspiring presentation, organizers provided many home- cooked dishes for CALPIA staff and guests to enjoy.