“Inspiring Change” - DoD Joint Suffolk Compound celebrates Black History Month
28 February 2023
SUFFOLK, Va. --
The Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Suffolk Compound, encompassing Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), and Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) joined the Navy in celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February.
The observance event was held at the Hall of Heroes at the Suffolk DoD Complex February 28, highlighting the 2023 theme “Inspiring Change.” The observance of African American Black History Month was established by Public Law 99-244. This observance runs through the month of February and celebrates the contributions of African Americans to our nation, our history, culture, and society.
Capt. Steve Correia, commander, NETWARCOM kicked off the event with opening remarks on the contributions of African Americans in Information Warfare (IW).
Correia stated from this year’s White House Proclamation on National Black History Month dated Jan. 31, “Our Nation was founded on an idea: that all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated with equal dignity throughout our lives. It is a promise we have never fully lived up to but one that we have never, ever walked away from.”
Correia also included in his remarks from the same proclamation, “Across the generations, countless Black Americans have demonstrated profound moral courage and resilience to help shape our Nation for the better. Today, Black Americans lead industries and movements for change, serve our communities and our Nation at every level, and advance every field across the board, including arts and sciences, business and law, health and education, and many more. In the face of wounds and obstacles older than our Nation itself, Black Americans can be seen in every part of our society today, strengthening and uplifting all of America.”
Black History Month is a celebration of the contributions of African Americans to history, culture and society. First proposed in the 1960’s it has been observed annually in the month of February since 1986 when congress passed public law 99-244. The 2023 theme is "Inspiring Change" is a recognition of the thousands of ways that African Americans have provided both innovation and hope throughout history.
The first guest speaker was Mr. Anthony Owens, a NETWARCOM civilian Information Technology Specialist (Network). Owens highlighted personal anecdotes of his time growing up in Brooklyn, New York. In his book, Syrup Sandwich,
Owens provided an in-depth review of his personal struggles and struggles of the community.
“I wanted to write something that anyone could pick up and relate to, regardless of nationality or color. The issues that I was exposed to, poverty, bullying, domestic abuse, single parenting, fatherlessness or discrimination is not specific to one race of people.”
In his presentation, Owens discussed promoting positivity. “I will be promoting inspiration, I will be promoting determination and a fundamental belief in not giving up on ourselves, because we all matter.”
He closed his speech with motivational departing words. “Choose not to give up! Giving up is usually a choice. I know how difficult and trying life can be, and there will be times when things seem overwhelming, but you have to develop a level of resiliency, determination, persistence and a belief in yourself,” Ownes said. “Always depend on yourself, it’s your responsibility to ensure your own happiness. When you choose not to give up, you allow yourself more options to succeed.”
The second guest speaker, Lt. Kenneth Bradley, Flag Secretary / Staff Executive Officer of Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, reiterated the importance of this year’s theme and how it resonated with him.
Ms. Jaliyah Williams from the Kings Fork High School beginner’s choir, sang the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the closing of the event.
The Navy’s IW community is a wide-ranging group of individuals, including communications, networks, intelligence, oceanography, meteorology, cryptology, electronic warfare, cyberspace operations, and space experts, among many others.
NAVNETWARCOM’s mission is to execute tactical-level command and control to direct, operate, maintain, and secure Navy communications and network systems within the Department of Defense Information Networks-Navy (DODIN-N) environment; leverage Joint Space capabilities for Navy and Joint Operations. NCDOC’s mission is to execute defensive cyberspace operations and enable global power projection through proactive network defense.
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