YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --
The Air Force Reserve’s 910th Airlift Wing hosted a Career and Diversity Day here, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.
“The purpose of the Career and Diversity Day is to connect with Airmen in a more profound way,” said Col. Sharon Johnson, 910th Maintenance Group commander who spearheaded the event. “We want to celebrate Airmen for who they are as a person, the heritage, ethnicity and culture they connect with, and to celebrate who they are as an Airman and what they bring to the fight. It brings individual culture to an event and creates a safe space to introduce and share cultural music, food, art and helps connect us all through experience and shared conversations.”
The event welcomed four cultural performances, various ethnic and cultural food samplings and 24 base organizations.
One of the event guests included Air Force Reserve Command Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer G. Lee Floyd.
“I was invited by wing leadership to see all the great things going on,” said Floyd. “The 910th appears to have elements of S.T.E.M., which is a huge driver in the area of diversity and inclusion. Kudos to the wing and the 910th diversity council led by Col. Casey Dodds.”
Airmen from around the base could be seen in action displaying their pride through various cultural activities.
Senior Airman Lamont Hicks Jr., a command support staff specialist assigned to the 910th Mission Support Group is a member of Sang and Hangout, an original R&B sing-along variety show that performed at the event.
“Bringing everyone together is what we strive to do,” said Hicks. “I try not to limit it to music and dance to allow the aspect of Diversity Day to expand and open up to everyone. Getting everyone to come together, that is the point of Diversity Day.”
During Sang and Hangout’s performance, many Airmen were singing and dancing, including Tech. Sgt. Danielle Knights, the development and training flight chief assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing.
“This event was amazing,” said Knight. “I have been at the 910th since 2013 and we have never had any event like that here. It is important to understand the different ethnicities across the base. When you learn something about someone else’s culture it then makes sense why people do this or that a certain way. It helps everyone work better together.”
The event also focused on exposing Airmen to other career fields on base.
“We need to retain Airmen, and if cross-training is what is needed to achieve that goal, we owe them to let them know the seemingly unlimited possibilities and how to do that,” said Johnson. “This event helps Airmen to see what other career options are available to them.”
The overall effort of the Career and Diversity Day was to bring together the unique differences of Airmen to form a valued organization where Airmen know they can prosper and continue to serve with pride.
“We have seasoned and young Airmen,” said Johnson. “Who we are and how we grew up makes us who we are. We should be very proud of who we are and continue growing in our Airmanship to value everyone on our team. We have five generations of different Airmen, and we have to find a way to connect. Gen. David Goldfein (Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force) stated that diversity is a ‘mission imperative.’ The Career and Diversity Day is the execution piece that brings us all together.”