COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Columbus Defense Federal Community gathered to remember the past, celebrate the victories and were reminded to carry on the actions for the future during the Jan. 16 program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Operations Center Auditorium.
“I can hardly believe what I’m seeing,” said Rodney Harmon, Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime associate, as he performed a spoken word piece dedicated to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “This scene is a snapshot of my dream.”
Harmon’s words set the tone for the program, reminding associates that while we have come a long way for equality, there’s still work to be done.
This year’s theme is “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A day on, not a day off!”
During DLA Land and Maritime Chief of Staff Air Force Col. Janette Ketchum’s opening remarks, she mentioned that today would have been King’s 90th birthday.
“It’s inspiring that we reflect earnestly on the ideals of diversity, tolerance and equality that he lived his life by,” said Ketchum as she introduced the keynote speaker, Chenelle Jones, Franklin University’s lead faculty for the Criminal Justice Administration.
Jones played on the energy of the audience and engaged them in an exercise by having everyone point a finger at themselves, then at their neighbor and finally at someone across the room while repeating a similar version of “When I think big and dream big, my results will be big” each time.
She referred to this as the first steps to a ‘Martin mindset,’ being able to think past what we can currently see and see what the world could be because a dream is nothing more than a thought asking permission to live.
There are three characteristics for a ‘Martin mindset’: commitment, connection and courage, explained Jones.
“Most people fail not because of fear, but because they lack commitment and follow through,” Jones said, encouraging the audience to ask themselves “what am I doing to make my dreams a reality.”
Although it isn’t enough to dream, to make it a reality one must act. Dreams often don’t come true without the help of others and that lead Jones to her second characteristic: connection.
She cautioned the audience to be aware of their circle and encouraged them to surround themselves with good people who help each other.
Finally Jones touched on courage telling the audience that to dream big isn’t enough, they need the courage to make it a reality, to keep going despite the presence of fear.
Giving a personal anecdote, Jones described taking a leap of faith and having the courage to move to a new state in which she knew nobody and had no connection to complete her dream of earning her doctorate under one of the leading authorities in her field. This took courage but also commitment and connection.
She continued to tell the audience of her first class as a doctoral candidate, Jones described a situation where another candidate approached her and told her to give up now because she wouldn’t finish the program, nobody has yet.
She said she fully embarrassed the saying “tell me what I can’t do and I’ll show you what I can.”
Determined, she proved her peer wrong and not only became the first person to complete the program at her school, but did it within two years.
Concluding her remarks, Jones reminded the audience “Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t. You have to have the commitment, connection and courage.”
Following Jones’ presentation, Equal Employment Office African American Executive Program Champion Linda Johnson provided closing remarks inviting everyone to attend the Feb. 20 Black History Month celebration and reminding everyone to think big, dream big and you’ll have big results.