Remember to complete your 2023-2024 FAFSA & update your UNCF Scholarship Profile!

By Stefanie Hauck

DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

View Original Article

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime celebrated National Black History Month with a special program Feb. 27 in the Operations Center Auditorium on Defense Supply Center Columbus.

This year’s theme was “Empowering the Next Generation.”

DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson said in his opening remarks that Black History Month is a time to celebrate past legacies while looking to what the future holds in the next generation.

“We must preserve and protect our history and the sharing of the legacies of those who came before us. That is how we are going to empower that next generation,” he said.

Kenneth Elvis Jones, executive vice president and chief of staff of Wilberforce University, spoke to a packed auditorium about the intersection of historical events and their place in empowering the next generation of Black activists and leaders.

He recounted significant events in the slave trade from the 16th to 19th centuries, the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, noting that the activism of the present builds on the actions of the past.

“The Civil Rights Movement was a watershed moment in American history, and it was led by courageous individuals such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X,” Jones explained. “They fought tirelessly for equality and justice and the dismantling of institutionalized biases.”

He noted that landmark legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, marked considerable progress from the efforts of past generations.

“The blood, sweat and tears sacrificed by our ancestors throughout history, made a difference,” Jones said.

He tied those early gains as victories which influence much of society today and how that influence is being carried forward into the future by the next generation.

“We find ourselves amid a new wave of social justice issues that have seized upon the hearts and the minds of people here in this country and around the world,” Jones said of recent events in the social justice realm which have given way to large worldwide movements fueled by today’s technology.

Jones explained online platforms like social media have given opportunities for new voices to be heard and serves as a vehicle of empowerment for the current generation fostering a sense of community and solidarity on a scale that could not be felt in past struggles.

“Movements of the past and present are converging and therefore instilling in 21st Century young people the belief that they can shape the narrative of their own destiny and contribute to a more equitable world,” he added.

As a lifelong educator, Jones has seen younger generations wanting to know more about their past to help shape these movements for a better future.

“Knowing more about our shared history allows young people to navigate the complexities of society, with the critical understanding of the forces that are at play,” he said.

Jones ended his remarks by challenging the audience to be a part of the solution that so many have fought for in the past.

“As we reflect on the progress made, let us also recognize the challenges ahead and renew our commitment to building a society where every individual, young and old, regardless of race, nationality and background where all of us can thrive and contribute to the collective tapestry of our nation,” he said.

The National Anthem was sung by DLA Land and Maritime Contract Specialist Rahil Huguley, the invocation delivered by DLA Land and Maritime Career Program Specialist Supply Team Lead Carlton Edwards and DLA Finance Accountant Shatonna Missick served as the mistress of ceremonies. DLA Land and Maritime Career Program Specialist Alphonso Guice Jr. performed the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to end the program.

The event was sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity’s African American Employment Committee.

Kenneth Elvis Jones, executive vice president and chief of staff of Wilberforce University (center) delivered the keynote at Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Black History Month observance Feb. 27 at the Operations Center Auditorium on Defense Supply Center Columbus. This year’s theme was “Empowering the Next Generation.” From left: DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson, DLA Land and Maritime Contract Specialist Rahil Huguley, DLA Land and Maritime Career Program Specialist Alphonso Guice Jr., DLA Finance Accountant Shatonna Missick, (Jones), DLA Land and Maritime Quality Assurance Specialist Supervisor Marlene Drayton-Stevenson, DLA Land and Maritime Career Program Specialist Supply Team Lead Carlton Edwards and Deputy Director of Land Customer Operations Jim Godfrey. Edwards delivered the invocation, Huguley delivered the National Anthem, Watson delivered the opening remarks, Godfrey serves as AAEP champion, Guice performed the event’s cultural expression, and Missick served as the event’s mistress of ceremonies.

© Wilberforce University - All Rights Reserved.
Current Students
Current Students

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?

X