SURFOR Staff Celebrates Black History Month

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Elena Velazquez, SURFOR Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. – Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) staff and civilian employees celebrated Black History Month with a ceremony held at SURFOR headquarters, Feb. 26, 2009.

The ceremony commenced with welcoming remarks, an invocation given by Lt. Demetric Felton, a chaplain assigned to USS Peleliu (LHA 5), and the introduction of Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Vice Adm. D. C. Curtis.

“It is not only Black History Month, it is the Nation’s history and for years we never really took a look at diversity,” said Curtis. “It is what makes our country great, it is what makes our country different and our Navy different and I am proud to be a part of it.”

During the ceremony, the contributions of black Americans throughout history were reflected upon through a series of events including songs, dancing and presentations by volunteers from SURFOR’s Heritage Committee.

The guest speaker, Evangelist Mary Paige, said “There is so much more to be gained from each other than there is for us to separate and segregate ourselves by not acknowledging each other’s histories.”

According to Personnel Specialist First Class Onika Moat, SURFOR’s Heritage Committee Coordinator, participating in this meaningful observance was a privilege.

“It was an honor for me to be part of such an important ceremony,” Moat said. “The chance to remind my shipmates of the important contributions made by black Americans and to reflect personally on them means so much to me.”

The program concluded with an African-American meal prepared by SURFOR’s Heritage Committee members. This year marks the 83rd annual observance of Black History month in the U.S.