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Eglin celebrates MLK Day

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs


 

A Martin Luther King Jr. observance was held here Jan. 12.

The month’s theme is "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!"

Chief Master Sgt. Marcus Washington, 96th Medical Group senior enlisted leader, was the guest speaker.  His message was accepting everyone as equals.

“There are times that African, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander Americans or any race, sit at the leadership table as the ‘only,’ he said.  “Or women sit at the table as the only. I’ve been there.”

Washington said while the burden of being an only is real to the person, it may not be to “others.”

He said King’s message for justice and equality starts at the individual level.

“We all want to be included in the conversation, despite what we carry into the room,” he said.  “It’s easy to see the others in the room, but often hard to see the onlys.  We have to recognize and acknowledge the onlys.  When you have a table full of onlys, you have diversity.

He said being an only can sometimes feel like a disadvantage, but it should not.

"Sometimes you have to be okay with being the only one of a certain color or race at the table,” he said.  “You’re there because you have been recognized for your talents, and a door has opened for you. You are bringing something different to the table. Embrace it.”

In conclusion, Washington said everyone has a story, a struggle, and a side to them other people might never know or understand, but that doesn't mean they should not try to.

Washington added, the phrase “everyone is different" is a saying heard throughout our lives. Different personalities, different abilities, different perspectives; no human being is the same.

“There is a reason everyone is who they are,” he said.  “If we all keep that in mind, the world will be a better place,” he said.

Col. Joseph Augustine, 96th Test Wing vice commander, gave closing remarks.

“Dr. King was a visionary who, although was ahead of his time, brought forth a message that has never been more relevant,” he said.  “We are living in a time of great change – some good, and some events are presenting challenges that we, as a society, must overcome.  We have much to be proud of in our strides forward, as a nation and as Airmen and guardians.”