Failure can be turned inside out if people simply stick it out.
That message of resilience was delivered to Naval Support Activity Philadelphia employees during an African American History Month observation Feb. 18 in the Building 6 auditorium.
“No matter the problem, stick it out. If it’s a logistics problem, stick it out,” said guest speaker Dr. Arthur E. Thomas. “It is no sin to fail, but it’s a sin not to try.”
Thomas, an author and journalist, said that the history of African American people is of striving for equality and of getting back up whenever they get knocked down.
He spoke of William Lee, who was an African American slave that served as George Washington’s valet throughout the eight years of the American Revolutionary War, and was freed upon Washington’s death.
Thomas remarked that Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton, an African American, went from an enlisted soldier to being an Army officer responsible for contracts worth billions of dollars as the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support commander.
“We’ve come a long way from George Washington’s hand servant,” Thomas said.
Hamilton said that having events like the African American History Month observance strengthens the workforce by allowing them to recognize and appreciate the importance of diversity.
Quianna Enang, a contract specialist with the Construction and Equipment supply chain, said that the talk was uplifting.
“It made me even more proud than I already was to be an African-American,” Enang said. “It reminded me that we should never give up. We have to continue with equality. Even though we’ve made as many strides as we have, we should never forget where we started from.”
Thomas holds a doctorate in Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and served as president of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, from 1985 to 1995. In 1994, Thomas was chosen by President Bill Clinton to represent the U.S. during the first democratic elections in South Africa.
The event was sponsored by the DLA Troop Support Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Office and the NAVSUP Weapons Systems Support Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee.