Charleston, South Carolina
History of BIG and the Ujima BIG Chapter
The National BIG organization (www.bignet.org), headquartered in Washington, D.C., was conceived by a small group of Black federal employees at the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) working at the Parklawn Building in Rockville, MD in 1975. Those courageous Public Health Services civil servants were experiencing a wide assortment of racially motivated problems and they decided that enough is enough. Their workplace improvement efforts at HEW proved to be very successful; and African-American feds employed at several other Washington, D.C. area agencies undergoing a myriad of discriminatory practices in their respective work environments quickly formed similar coalitions aimed at recommending various job ameliorations. And as they say, the rest is history; with National BIG being incorporated as a non-profit organization under the District of Columbia jurisdiction in 1976 functioning as an employee support group, an advocacy group, a professional development group and a resource group for ALL PERSONS working in the federal, state or local government. Today, there are approximately 220 BIG Chapters with an estimated membership of 5,500 persons spread amongst eleven(11) Regional Councils throughout the U.S. BIGs goals are to promote EQUITY in all aspects of American life, EXCELLENCE in public service, and OPPORTUNITY for all Americans; and the week-long Annual National Training Conference (NTC) held every August that BIG hosts has proven to be a viable training tool and career development resource for both government and non-government employees and agencies. Ujima (pronounced: oo-GEE-mah) BIG Chapter in Regional Council IV was established on Friday, August 21, 2009 and its the 4th BIG Chapter at the U.S. Department of State (DoS). The other DoS BIG Chapters are DoS-Foreign Affairs, Carl T. Rowan and USAID; all in Regional Council XI. To date, Ujima has twenty-five(25) members consisting of active and/or retired federal employees and contract staff hired at Global Financial Services-Charleston, the Charleston Passport Center and the Naval Weapons Station. Ujima is currently the only BIG Chapter in the greater Charleston tri-county area and its the fastest growing of the thirty-eight(38) BIG Chapters in Regional Council IV.