Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sierra D. Langdon
BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC) held a ceremony observing African-American/Black History Month, Feb. 24.
Sailors gathered in a berthing barge used to provide living and workspace as well as basic services during the ongoing maintenance period to see performances highlighting the contributions of African-Americans through history.
MCHC selected ‘Success Always Leaves Footprints’ as this year’s theme. The ceremony featured informational performances and presentations centered on African-American successes.
“Today we come together to honor the legends of the past and present that have been and continue to be instrumental to the progress and furthering of a melanated people,” said Lt. Jonathan Johnson from New Orleans. “We have come to commemorate the intellectual, social and educational advancements of these people during times of hardship and pain while illuminating their strength and fortitude.”
The observance included informational speeches on historical figures and moments that have inspired others to pursue success through diversity.
“Many have set remembrance on The Tuskegee Airmen and The Golden Thirteen, admiring their contributions to our nation’s military history,” said Johnson. “The most popular contributors, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, have been quoted, there have been dances, conventions and festivals reflecting on all the accomplishments of this America and how we have played an intricate part in sculpting the face of it.”
Members of the MCHC performed music, recited poetry and gave personal accounts of overcoming adversity.
“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength,” said Chief Legalman Tanica Bagmon, from Fort Washington, Maryland, quoting African-American Poet Maya Angelou. “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of that tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.”
In her own words, Bagmon added “As the world continues to evolve, so will our military and all the threads of that rich tapestry will become stronger.”
John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.
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