HAMPTON, Va. (NNS) -- Staff from the Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 2 visited the Hampton University Museum to honor African-American history, Feb. 24.
The event was organized in collaboration with the museum's Associate Curator and Director of Community Programs, Crystal Johnson Horne, and NEPMU-2's Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ananda Stevenson, who serves on the unit's diversity committee.
NEPMU-2 service members and civilians represent cultures and ethnicities from around the world. In recognition of this diverse group, unified through a commitment to military service, the unit visited the nation's oldest African-American museum. Founded in 1868, the Hampton University Museum galleries house African-American, African, American Indian, and Asian and Pacific art and artifacts.
"We were allowed the distinct opportunity to take a break from our normal training routine to pause and reflect on the immeasurable contributions of African-Americans," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Florencio Alconaba, NEPMU-2.
Horne provided an inspirational and personal tour of the museum, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of the African-Americans who helped to shape the nation. The quest for basic rights and liberties is captured in a variety of mediums, including tapestries, paintings and sculptures. Other pieces provide insight into early African-American life through depictions of values and religion.
"You are left with more than a feeling of seeing an art exhibit; somehow you have been able to see into the looking glass of the past," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Surrie Rodriguez, NEPMU-2.
At the heart of the museum is the original pen used by President Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. This symbol of inclusivity and equality resonated with many of the NEPMU-2 visitors.
"I didn't realize the wealth of historic treasure we have in our city before this trip," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Russell Ongkeko, NEPMU-2. "It was very informative and eye-opening."
The Department of the Navy released its Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap, Jan. 23, outlining an initiative to foster a culture of inclusion and harness diversity as a force multiplier. The first strategic imperative is a promise to recruit a high-performing, innovative workforce which reflects all segments of society.
At NEPMU-2, this ethos is made evident by the efforts of a diverse group who work together to provide force health protection, anytime, anywhere, as well as civic-minded recognition of local historical landmarks and national treasures.
A copy of the Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap can be found at http://www.21stcentury.navy.mil/Pages/Inclusion.aspx.
Additional information on milestones achieved by African-American Sailors can be found on the Naval History and Heritage Command website at http://www.history.navy.mil.
Visit the Hampton University Museum website at http://museum.hamptonu.edu/.
For more information on NEPMU-2, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nepmu2/Pages/default.aspx.
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For more news from Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nmcphc/.