JBPHH observes African American History Month

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

Joint B a s e P e a r l H a r b o rH i c k a m ( J BPHH) commemorated A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n H i s t o r y M o n t h w i t h s p e c i a l e v e n t s , i n -cluding an observance a t N e l l e s M e m o r i a l Chapel and a luncheon at the Silver Dolphin Bistro, Feb. 5.

H o s t e d b y t h e J B -P H H D i v e r s i t y a n d S p e c i a l O b s e r v a n c e C o m m i t t e e , t h e n a -tional and Department of Defense (DoD) theme for this year ‘s observ a n c e i s ” H a l l o w e d Grounds: Sites of African-American Memories,” which highlights important locations to the civil-rights movement by African Americans and others in the battle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law.

An excerpt from the p r e s e n t a t i o n s t a t e d : “One cannot tell the story of America without preserving and reflecting on the places where African Americans have made history. This presentation prompts us to rememb e r t h e p e o p l e a n d places that over time have become hallowed grounds, and the people who helped define them.”

The presentation educated attendees about pivotal locations including Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island, which was the l a r g e s t p l a n t a t i o n h o u s e i n F l o r i d a . I t also explored the importance of Little Rock H i g h S c h o o l , w h i c h was the scene of one of the most tumultuous tests of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

In addition to featuring locations, the presentation highlighted key civil rights activists who were at each l o c a t i o n d u r i n g k e y times in the movement. It served as a history lesson to many in att e n d a n c e , i n c l u d i n g some of JBPHH’s senior leadership.

” T h e s e t y p e s o f events are important because they provide a n o t h e r o p p o r t u n i t y to educate the masses, celebrate culture and

focus on diversity and inclusion,” said Chief M a s t e r S g t . S o n y a M a y o , 6 4 7 t h F o r c e Support Squadron superintendent.

T h e o b s e r v a n c e h o s t e d a t N e l l e s Chapel also featured g u e s t s p e a k e r s w h o highlighted the importance of recognizing and remembering those accomplishments and the efforts to bring together those from different backgrounds.

“The events provide a forum to learn about not just Black history, but American history,” said Mayo. “There are m a n y g r e a t p e o p l e f r o m v a r i o u s e t h n i c groups and origins that have shaped our country and we need to be educated on these contributions.”

After the observance at Nelles Chapel, patrons moved to the Silver Dolphin Bistro for a speacial meal.

S e r v i c e m e m b e r s who attended the luncheon were treated to a special Black History Month meal featuring a menu that included s h r i m p a n d c h i c k e n gumbo soup, Moroccan Shabbat catfish, bobotie (meatloaf), Southern fried chicken, pork spare ribs, mashed potatoes and baked macaroni and cheese, to name a few.

The luncheon ended w i t h a c e l e b r a t o r y cake-cutting, featuring JBPHH commander Capt. Stanley Keeve a n d m e m b e r s o f t h e JBPHH Diversity and S p e c i a l O b s e r v a n c e Committee.

“These types of cultural events are important because they help to build an und e r s t a n d i n g o f o t h -ers,” said Keeve. “It is through the understanding of others traditions, inspirational figures and histories that we can better appreciate and respect those who we work side b y s i d e w i t h . W h e n y o u r s h i p m a t e s a n d Airmen know that you appreciate and respect them and their culture, it reaffirms their dign i t y a n d s e l f w o r t h , and that makes us into a better team.”

The full presentation from the observance is available online. To access the presentation, visit the following link: http://ow.ly/YbDe7.

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Category: News