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There are the Oscars. The BET Awards. The MTV Awards. But did you know there was an awards ceremony for the top African Americans in technology? People who are working to make our lives better through new innovations?

Black Money just released the names of 2012’s “50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology,” who will be honored on  January 15, 2013 in Washington, DC at the Innovation & Equity Symposium. The theme for this year is “Keeping America First in Technology: Public Innovation and Supplier Diversity.”

Many ask, “Where are the blacks in technology?” That’s because the numbers still remain low. In fact,  the number of minorities in Silicon Valley have actually dropped.  “An analysis by the Mercury News of the combined work force of 10 of the Valley’s largest companies — including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, eBay and AMD — shows that while the collective work force of those 10 companies grew by 16 percent between 1999 and 2005, an already small population of black workers dropped by 16 percent, while the number of Hispanic workers declined by 11 percent. By 2005, only about 2,200 of the 30,000 Silicon Valley-based workers at those 10 companies were black or Hispanic,” according to the Mercury News.

So the recognition of blacks in the field by “Black Money” is even more significant. Among the honorees are Dr. John and Gerald Commissiong, the co-founders behind Amarantus BioSciences, Inc., a California-based biotechnology company developing new treatments and diagnostics for Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury.

The Hon. Dr. Cardinal Warde, a professor of electrical engineering at MIT, is also being recognized. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on materials, devices and systems for optical information processing. There is also:  Dr. Debra Auguste,  the newly appointed associate professor of biomedical engineering at City University of New York; Dr. Jean Orelien, a leader in the mathematical research behind modern medicine who does a lot of work in Haiti; and Linda Cureton, the chief information officer of NASA.

For a full list of the tops in tech, visit the Black Money website.

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