Battle Creek, Michigan –
Defense Logistics Agency employees gathered in the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center Feb. 7 for a belated commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event was originally scheduled for Jan. 23, closer to King’s birthday, but the program was delayed twice because of winter weather. Krista Nawrocki, special emphasis program manager for the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, welcomed attendees to the event and thanked them for attending.
Kevin Faber, Information Operations’ customer support and readiness director, spoke next to offer the opening remarks that reminded everyone that King would have been 90 years old in January and would not want us to hate.
“Let us all see how we can make a positive change and bring people together,” Faber said. “That would be the best birthday present that King could have hoped for – to see so many people share his dream and come together to make it happen.”
Al Hight, director and chief diversity & inclusion equal employment opportunity manager for the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, went on to give a presentation telling the audience, “You Are the Difference.” He began by reminding people about the details of King’s life and shared how the pastor became involved in civil rights.
Not only was King highly educated, but Hight said the future leader started his college studies at 15 and finished his first degree at Morehouse College when he was just under 18 years of age. King went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, before pursuing his doctorate at Boston University. It was because of his education, speaking skills and background in the community that Hight said local leaders and other clergyman asked King, a new pastor, to become a spokesman after Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of that Montgomery, Alabama, city bus.
“He didn’t want to do it,” Hight said, “but sometimes you are asked to take on a duty you are not looking to do, it’s just at the right place and the right time.”
Hight talked about the struggles King would have as he spoke out, including the many arrests and attacks, “but he kept on because he had a dream. He saw how the world could be.” Hight stressed that King wanted to make the world better for all people, and, in the end, some of his dream has come true.
“He wanted to see people of all colors come together, being one nation,” Hight said. “If you look at our country this is who we are.” He went on to remind people of King’s desire for children of all colors to attend school together and how many of the audience did.
“That dream came true,” Hight said.
Before ending his remarks, Hight reminded his audience that each of them could make a difference.
“When you hear something that isn’t right, say something about it,” Hight said. “Everybody wants to sit back and say, ‘Somebody should do something about that,’ but you are that somebody.”
Closing remarks were offered by Lakeea Kelly, manager of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Event for the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity. Kelly reminded the audience of Sojourner Truth, the operators of the Underground Railroad, the Tuskegee Airmen and soldiers of the Red Ball Express who came before King and also believed in freedom and dignity for all.
“I believe it was the character of people like these that King had in mind when he spoke of his dream that people would be judged by the color of the character and not the color of their skin,” Kelly said. “They are certainly people who have made a difference.”
Kelly also encouraged the audience to see ways they can make difference. She also asked them to “encourage others to learn, think and decide how they can make a difference. I believe that will help continue the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”