President Kari. K. Steele shares history making ceremony with the Raising of the Black Heritage Flag at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Black History Month celebrations kicked off on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 with a history making ceremony. MWRD for the first-time in their 130-year history raised the Black Heritage Flag as an expression of their support for the Black Community. The Flag Raising Ceremony was held at the MWRD main office building, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, IL between 10 a.m. – noon.

“We are raising the red, black and green Black Heritage Flag to express our support for the black community and commitment to diversity,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele.

We appreciated the MWRD staff, elected officials and constituents who joined us in this memorable occasion. On August 31, 1920 at the First International Convention of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in New York, led by the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the flag was adopted at the Convention through the adoption of the UNIA’s Declaration of Rights as the official colors of the African race. More than 25,000 African people from all over the world attended.

Red, black and green are the colors of the Black Heritage Flag. The red represents the blood of African people shed, black describes people of African descent and green represents the continent of Africa, the land from which African people descended. We encourage communities to share this historical occasion with others. Stop by the MWRD main office building at Erie & Rush Street to take a photo of the Black Heritage Flag, as it waves next to the American flag and post your picture on your social media site, using our hashtag #MWRDBlackHistory2020.

The MWRD invites all communities to include MWRD in their Black History Month plans, as we celebrate African American History Makers throughout the month of February. Celebration dates are as follows:

  • Honoring State African American Elected LeadersTuesday, February 11, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Celebration of the First African American MWRD Department HeadsTuesday, February 18, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Presentation of Harriet Tubman by Kathryn HarrisTuesday, February 25, noon – 2 p.m.

For more information about MWRD Board President Kari K. Steele or Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago visit or call 312-751-5695.


The mission of the District is to protect the health and safety of the public in its service area, protect the quality of the water supply source (Lake Michigan), improve the quality of water in watercourses in its service area, protect businesses and homes from flood damages, and manage water as a vital resource for its service area.

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