Heritage month events embrace diversity
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- When a trainee reaches Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland or when a cadet reaches Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, they are greeted by many people from different backgrounds. Culturally, Airmen are all different, but together they all have sworn the same oath to defend our country.
The goal to educate, celebrate and unite all cultures drives the established African American Heritage Association to hold numerous events honoring African American Heritage Month across Misawa Air Base.
"Finding events that could educate and help people get to know their coworkers on a deeper level was our main focus this year," said Tech. Sgt. Kendrick Burton, the African American Heritage Association president. "Once you know what background someone comes from, you can relate to them better."
The events were kicked off with a ceremony at the base exchange. Association members then shared stories highlighting significant African American contributions at the elementary school, held a Financial Freedom Lunch n' Learn, and conducted bowling and movie nights.
The month concluded with a soul tasting event accompanied with entertainment acts, such as poem reading, speeches and a demonstration from the Edgren High School step team.
"No matter what month these events occur, it's very important for people to embrace their culture," said Airman 1st Class Ryan Montague, a 35th Communications Squadron network operations technician. "These events are also a good opportunity for people of all ethnicities to come together and share their stories."
The AAHA seeks to not only bring awareness of cultural diversity during the month of February, but year-round.
"Education is not just a one-month occurrence," said Burton. "We meet so many different people in the Air Force and if we learn more about what makes each one of us different, we realized what we can bring to the table to better unify ourselves."
Burton also added the association is in the midst of planning a Juneteenth celebration, commemorating the end of slavery, along with other events for the whole family to embrace and learn about different cultures.
"Diversity is a very good thing that should not be ignored," said Burton. "Go find out who your coworkers are. Do not assume that you know who they are from the outside because we all have different stories. The more you know about these people, the better off our Air Force will be."
For more information on future events held by the African American Heritage Association, click here.