- Posted February 21, 2014 by
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka celebrates African American Heritage
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan – NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Multi Cultural Committee hosted a Black History Month event Feb. 21 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base, celebrating the rich culture and vibrant history of African Americans, whose struggle for equality transformed a nation.
Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan/commander, Navy Region Japan, gave opening remarks and shared that the theme of the celebration was ‘Civil Rights in America’.
“The diversity of our Navy is the strength of our Navy,” said Kraft. “We don’t just acknowledge it, we celebrate it.”
The occasion highlighted many accomplishments of African Americans in society and the Navy. Additionally, the standing room only audience was treated to several live musical performances; to include a Sam Cooke inspired guitar and vocal solo. The keynote speaker was Lt. Cmdr. Rasaq Balogun, a New Jersey native who grew up in West Africa and is the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Fuel Director.
“It is not important to know history, it’s important to understand history,” said Balogun, adding that it was the passing of Civil Rights laws that helped to usher black Americans into the mainstream.
Balogun shared that as a black naval leader he felt it was his duty to be a lightning rod against the status quo and to always be inquiring, challenging and advocating on behalf of people of color, adding that, “every individual has the right to live up to their full potential.”
Referencing the accomplishments of those black leaders who came before him, Balogun cited several lyrics from influential African American Rap artist Jay-Z, “they say a little guy standing on the giant's shoulder can see much further than the giant.”
Addressing junior Sailors and Marines in the crowd, Balogun said, “As you are standing on the shoulders of giants, looking out over the horizon…I dare you to rise to the challenge and to grow.”
It is through this development of a diverse workforce that NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and the Navy will aid in the accomplishment of the CNO’s Core Tenants of Warfighter First, Operate Forward, Be Ready, said Balogun.
At the end of the ceremony, the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Commanding Officer, Capt. Marty Fields, thanked and gave recognition to the hard work and dedication given by the nearly 20 volunteers who make up the Multi Cultural Committee. These Sailors volunteer many of their off-duty hours to ensure successful diversity related events take place.
“It’s inspiring and very rewarding to be involved in the Multi Cultural Committee,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Daniela Arias, the committee secretary and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka postal clerk. “Learning about the history and getting people involved is very important, so that it’s not forgotten.”
The Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals annually. Department of Defense themes are promulgated by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsup/.