NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Celebrates African American Heritage
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Members of the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Multi-Cultural Committee presented the 2015 African American Heritage/Black History Month celebration Feb. 13 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base.
The theme of the celebration was ‘A Century of Black Life, History and Culture’.
The event highlighted the many accomplishments of African Americans in history as well as several live acts to include a guitar solo and songs by Kazuhiko Sato, a member of the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Regional Services Department (Code 400) and a performance by the Christian Ministries Far East (CMFE) Gospel choir.
The keynote speaker was Bishop Charles Hall, Founding and Senior Pastor, CMFE Worship Center and a 30-year U.S. Navy veteran who hails from New Orleans, La.
Bishop spoke to the adversity that African Americans have faced as well as many of the successes and stated that the United States was a salad bowl rather than a melting pot, in that a salad has many different ingredients but at the end of the day it tastes good, refereeing to the many varied cultures and races that make up America and how Americans are better off for it.
African-Americans have served in the U.S. Navy since its beginnings, even before America was fully formed as a nation, fighting in the Continental Navy as our country struggled for its independence, said Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Commanding Officer, adding that today, African American active duty officer and enlisted Sailors, Reservists and civilians continue to serve with distinction in what is arguably the greatest Naval power in the history of the world.
Nearly 70 years ago, President Truman desegregated the military and during that time many African Americans have worn the uniform and fought proudly, said Bichard.
“It was the military that was ahead of the rest of the country in understanding the necessity and value of integration,” said Bichard. “I can say without reservation that our command and our Navy is better because of the many contributions put forth by our African American community members, shipmates and friends.”
Members of the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka community joined together after the event to share in a pot-luck style meal that represented the diversity of all participants through the variety of entrees served.
“As usual, our Multi-Cultural Committee has done an excellent job of putting this ceremony together,” said Bichard. “It’s important to remember that they are all volunteers…so, thank you all for your efforts and dedication.”
The Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals. Department of Defense themes are promulgated by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).