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News | Feb. 21, 2020

Defense Supply Center Columbus’ African American History Program features Columbus City Schools official

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Defense Supply Center Columbus’ workforce gathered in the Operations Center Auditorium to celebrate the installation’s African American History program Feb. 19, honoring African Americans past and present contributions to America’s success.

After opening ceremonies, Defense Logistics Agency, Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson welcomed the near capacity crowd to a recognition event that remains one of the installation’s most well attended.

Before Watson highlighted the theme for this year’s program, “Reflections of Yesterday: Real Change,” he refocused the audience’s attention to the cultural expression portion of the program that showcased the talents of representatives from the Drumline of East High School. Revealing that he was a band alumni in school, Watson lead the audience in a spirited recognition of the East High band members and their performance.

“That was absolutely outstanding,” Watson said of the drumline presentation as he welcomed everyone to the event.

Shifting attention to the program’s guest speaker Dr. John Stanford, deputy superintendent of Columbus City Schools, Watson shared the DSCC community’s appreciation to Stanford for attending the installation’s program and provided a snapshot of his career accomplishments.

As part of Stanford’s introduction, Watson recounted a Frederick Douglass quote to summarize the qualities and capabilities revealed during their meeting prior to the program. “Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.”

Stanford offered apologies for Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon not being able to attend the program due to a family emergency. He willingly shared experiences from his personal life that encouraged him through some of his professional achievements.

He chronicled his family’s migration from the south to the north when he was a child and the struggles they encountered in making that journey. “That transition taught me the very meaningful need for people to depend on each other,” said Stanford.

Linking to the program’s theme throughout his presentation, Stanford said a person must know their history if they’re to know where they’re going in life. He added that an adage his parents used frequently during his childhood was not to forget what others had to sacrifice in order to improve access to the opportunities for success.

Speaking on the achievements of all people, Stanford said none of us are here because of what we’ve done. “More importantly, we’re here because of the shoulders we stand on and because those who supported, mentored and guided us when we were young. And we have that same responsibility to the young people of our community, to make sure that they have the same opportunities for success that we had.”

Sharing, giving and making sure that we give back were additional key themes that Stanford included during his presentation. He also touched on the importance that diversity plays in influencing the success of all organizations.

Near the close of his remarks, Stanford offered a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which says, “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” He personalized the quote by reminding everyone in the audience that we’re human beings together in our struggle for justice.

The 2020 Carter G. Woodson Award, which recognizes individuals who’ve made outstanding contributions to the African American community, was presented to Kimberly Wilson-Lawson and Michele Thrower-Shank at the close of the program.

Kenneth Goodson, Land and Maritime director of Procurement Process Support and Executive Champion of the African American Employment Program, provided closing remarks.

Land and Maritime associate and Chair of the African American Employment Program, Anita Jones, served as the mistress of ceremony and Land and Maritime associate and soloist Fred Thomas led the audience in a rendition of the African American National Anthem.

Cultural food samples were provided as the audience mingled outside the auditorium.