Karl, A subject near and dear to my heart.
I have been associated with rock and mineral clubs since the 70's,
and through them a Federation of Mineralogical Societies.
The first club I joined had a Black gentleman as their Federation
Director. He was a wonderful man and was very diligent to
responsibilities, and disseminating When I began to
attend Federation meetings, all I saw was a sea of white hair on
white men and women.
I went back to the clubs and asked why there was no minority
involvement. What I got in response was pure and simple
discrimination. I found not only toward African Americans, but
toward Hispanic and Asians.
Rock and Mineral clubs and their field trips, lapidary shops, and
jewelry making classes are the beginning exposure to Earth Sciences
and Jewelry as careers. If you don't get them in young, they have no
I have never prevailed to get a minority outreach program beginning
with the Federation and via them down to the individual clubs.
This is an area that is fast dying just as the senior members, those
who stood in the way of embracing minorities. I will soon be making
a presentation at my Federation Business meeting to recognize this
glaringly discriminatory practice, and take measures to end it. I
probably will not prevail, as there still are too many entrenched
members with dug in heels wishing to thwart any such suggestion.
Frankly, I have never met a child who did not love rocks. This is
where we must start, the youngster finding beach pebbles and running
them through a rock tumbler and gluing them to pot metal findings.
From there will come future faceters, lapidarians, designers, silver
and gold smiths, as well as of course platinum. Jewelers of the
future begin as children, do not push them aside for any reason.
Nurture them no matter what heritage they spring from.
I live fairly close to GIA and make pilgrimages to the campus. The
students come from every quadrant of the globe. The bookstore has
books in many languages. Their money is accepted no matter what it
looks like. They are as we are members of the human race.
Some clubs still require prospective new members to be recommended
by current member. the board then reviews them and anoints those
with surnames known to be Anglo-Saxon. Those which end in "ez" or
are similar to George Washington Lincoln, are summarily rejected.
We need to reach out to minorities and welcome them, before the
clubs bury the last standing member and have a yard sale of what