Waste Management Revs Up Diversity in NASCAR with National Press Club Event; Luncheon to Include Premiere of Documentary ’Black Wheels’, Expert Panel Discussion
WASHINGTON, June 1 -- Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WMI) will host an event today in Washington, D.C. to highlight the contributions of African Americans in motorsports and the diversity initiatives underway in NASCAR. The event, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the National Press Club, will include a screening of the documentary “Black Wheels,” introduced by accomplished actor and director Tim Reid of New Millennium Studios, as well as a panel discussion moderated by award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon.
“Waste Management has a company-wide commitment to diversity, and our support of NASCAR-related programs such as Drive for DiversitySM and the documentary ’Black Wheels’ is a big part of that,” said Carlton Yearwood, Waste Management’s chief diversity officer. “We are thrilled to host a pre-screening of ’Black Wheels’, which focuses on the history of African-Americans in motor sports, and we are looking forward to discussing the future of the issue during the panel discussion. This is an important topic that we felt deserved a national stage where the key players can provide their viewpoints.”
The panel discussion will feature a diverse group of panelists from NASCAR, representing many perspectives on the issue. Panelists will include: NASCAR Director of Diversity Tish Sheets; NASCAR driver Bill Lester, driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; Sam Belnavis, team owner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series; Access Marketing & Communications CEO Greg Calhoun, head of the Drive for DiversitySM program; Drive for DiversitySM driver Joe Henderson III; Black Wheels producer Byron Hunter and Waste Management Chief Diversity Officer Carlton Yearwood. The panel discussion will be moderated by Ed Gordon and will include an audience Q&A session.
“Waste Management’s drivers, which include an African American, a Latino, a female and a white male, truly represent the face of America,” said NASCAR Director of Diversity Tish Sheets. “Waste Management’s leadership is an example and benefit for all of NASCAR.”
In addition to a major corporate sponsorship of NASCAR, Waste Management has stepped up as a leader in the issue of diversity in NASCAR through sponsorship of drivers Bill Lester and Jesus Hernandez, two prolific ambassadors for diversity and for NASCAR. Lester is in his third year competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and will drive the Waste Management No. 22 Toyota Tundra for three races in 2005. Hernandez is driving the No. 17 Waste Management Ford in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. In addition, Waste Management sponsors female driver Terri Williams, driving the No. 02 Waste Management Chevrolet in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the Drive for DiversitySM program, to which Williams and Hernandez both belong.
Waste Management is a presenting sponsor of the documentary “Black Wheels,” which chronicles the contributions and achievements of African Americans in auto racing from the mid-1920’s to the present. “Black Wheels” will take viewers on a historic ride through nearly a century of great performances by African-Americans in auto racing history, from the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes, the first professional auto racing circuit for Blacks in the 1920’s, to Willy T. Ribbs’ historic run in the Indy 500 in 1991.
“Black Wheels” features the stories of racing legends Charlie Wiggins, Joie Ray and the great Wendell Scott, and will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the racing life of driver Bill Lester, currently the only African American driver in NASCAR’s top series. In addition, the documentary will showcase prominent African American team owners, racing officials, and programs currently increasing the presence of minorities and women in NASCAR.
The documentary will be broadcast in markets nationwide throughout the summer, and will have its first airing on July 3 on WTTA, Tampa, Florida’s WB affiliate. Following this television debut, the film is already scheduled to be broadcast on stations in more than 60 markets, including Chicago and Dallas in July, as well as Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia in August. Stations in other top 10 markets are almost daily committing to broadcast the documentary as well.
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