SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors from U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) celebrated African-American History Month at the base chapel Feb. 28.
The NBG Multicultural Committee coordinated the event to honor the accomplishments and sacrifices of civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, who is Mississippi's first field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"This definitely has an impact on me," said NBG Yeoman 3rd Class Akeem Williams. "Being a young African-American, it's nice to know that the Navy celebrates diversity and to know that I am welcomed amongst my peers and co-workers."
The committee presented a historical slideshow that highlighted the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s that saw many black and white Americans protesting for an end to discrimination and segregation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act that President Lyndon Johnson signed into law July 2, 1964. That national milestone prohibited discrimination based on race, color of skin, religion, sex and national origin.
NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Mike Ward said combining people's differences, such as their culture, experiences and skills, with the Navy's core values creates a strategic advantage for the U.S. military.
"What we're celebrating throughout the year is the fact that our Navy is a diverse culture and it is reflective of our society," Ward said. "The fact that we bring (in) people from all walks of life, from all parts of the country, some from other countries to join our military makes us a better military. It makes us better people, better Sailors."
According to NAVADMIN 016/14, African-Americans make up more than 17 percent of the Navy's active duty forces and they participate in all facets of naval operations.
This African-American History Month celebration is one of several events that the base holds throughout the year in recognition of American history and social progress. The NBG Multicultural Committee is looking at hosting an upcoming event that will commemorate women's equality and suffrage.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.