GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D --
Black History Month concluded at Grand Forks AFB with a celebration event boasting African American history and heritage for all airmen and their families to enjoy Feb. 25, 2021.
The event housed more than 100 documents, art pieces and photos dated as far back as 1931, all loaned to the base from a Multicultural Committee member’s personal collection in order highlight African American contributions, innovation and achievements throughout history.
“It was put into my soul to do this so everyone can learn about the history of African Americans and their contributions to the world,” said Master Sgt. Quanda Jackson, 319 Logistics Readiness Squadron customer support section chief and MC president. “Learning one of our committee members, Sonia Brumskill, owned so many historical artifacts—I knew this was something that had to be shared.”
Military installations across the world participated in Black History Month to reflect on African Americans’ influence and innovation in arts, science, entertainment, law, politics and more. Thanks to the efforts of the African American Cultural Association and the Multicultural Committee, Grand Forks AFB was able to provide rich history to its airmen in a way they could appreciate in person.
Among those who attended were Master Sgt. Hersey Pulley, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy repair superintendent. Hersey expressed the importance of educating airmen on African American history to end racial disparity.
“There are many little-known facts regarding black history,” said Pulley. “When successful events like these are held, cultural competency regarding the black community grows greatly. As this level of competence is cultivated, our Air Force family is better suited to combat negative stigmas and biases that can easily be associated with the black community.”
This cultural competency is vital for the improvement of Air Force culture, a key priority for senior leaders. The Black History Month celebration at Grand Forks AFB wasn’t just a celebration, but airmen joining together to tackle a larger cultural issue. It allowed airmen to engage in discussion, learn from one another and promote a culture of acceptance, awareness and inspiration for all. The celebration event aligned with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass’ key focus areas of people, readiness and culture.
Bass continuously emphasizes that the change in culture the Air Force needs will not come from a policy, program or email—a point Jackson echoed during the celebration.
“It’s more than just a day, week or month,” said Jackson. “It’s continuous learning, continuous empowerment, and continuous awareness for everybody, not just African Americans. It’s everyone’s responsibility to learn.”
The Air Force’s recent emphasis on improving culture is demonstrated through efforts to end racial disparity and promote an environment of equal discipline and development of all airmen. This process begins with airmen understanding and acknowledging African American history.