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IBM and Corporate Communications Group Sponsor 2004 Black Family Technology Awareness Week

Leading Black Filmmakers Will Host a Technology and Film Symposium with Students at New York's Martin Luther King Jr. High School of Arts & Technology

ARMONK, NY - 30 Jan 2004: - Three internationally renowned Black filmmakers will sharpen their focus on students at New York City's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School to share the impact of technology on the excitement and glamour of filmmaking. This innovative symposium will be the first of many public awareness events scheduled during the annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week (BFTAW) February 15-21, sponsored by IBM and Career Communications Group.

The campaign theme, "Let excellence become your way of life - in your family, your education and your career," highlights promoting the value of technology in the Black community and its importance in educating and preparing Black youth for future careers. "This is the fifth year that IBM has co-sponsored Black Family Technology Awareness Week," says Al Zollar, general manager, eServer iSeries, IBM Systems Group and a BFTAW co-chairperson. "Our commitment continues because the need to educate Blacks and raise awareness to the importance of technology remains a key issue."

Recent studies show that 61% of Black Americans* who do not use the Internet would be open to getting online if the opportunity presented itself. During BFTAW 2004, hands-on technology demonstrations, online college expos, cyber cafes, computer classes and workshops on navigating and building websites will take place coast to coast, providing Black families with numerous opportunities not only to access Internet information related to everyday life, but also recognize the potential technology has to positively impact jobs and education.

This year, three internationally renowned Black filmmakers will also join the BFTAW campaign by hosting an interactive symposium with hundreds of students at New York City's Martin Luther King Jr. High School of Arts and Technology. They include:

The filmmakers will share with the students the role technology has played in creating greater opportunities for Blacks and members of other under-represented groups to work in the industry or gain access to the medium.

In addition, four of IBM's senior Black executives and their families will serve as BFTAW national chairpersons, crisscrossing the country to attend events and address some of the issues critical to persuading Blacks to participate more fully in the Digital Age.

Mr. Zollar and his wife, Dr. Alicia Underwood, will join three other IBM executives and their spouses as co-chairpersons for BFTAW. They include:

A gala tribute honoring the "50 Top Blacks in Technology" will also take place in Baltimore on Friday, February 20th, during Black Family Technology Empowerment Weekend, the culmination of the campaign.

"On a daily basis, technology is helping our society to consider new and more effective ways of carrying out tasks that are central to our lives," says Zollar. "The opportunities to make a difference are endless. That's why it is critical to get everyone involved."

"Our job isn't done," said Tyrone Taborn, chairman, Career Communications Group and founder of Black Family Technology Awareness Week. "Blacks still see a delta between themselves and other groups with respect to computer ownership and Internet access. The BFTAW campaign is putting the tools out there that can make a meaningful impact on education and careers. The importance of this undertaking in our communities cannot be overstated."

Last year, the presenting sponsors partnered with churches, senior-citizens centers, schools, youth groups, fraternal, professional and community organizations, and IBM employee volunteers to host nearly 100 events in 26 cities, 17 states and Canada, enabling thousands of Blacks to access technology and enhance their technological skills.

To learn more about the 2004 Black Family Technology Awareness Week, visit www.blackfamilynet.net or call (410) 244-7101.

Contact(s) information

Jim Sinocchi
IBM Media Relations
(914) 765-6638
Sinocchi@us.ibm.com

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