USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea - USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated African-American History Month Feb. 25 commemorating the accomplishments and contributions of African-American women, in line with the national theme this year "Black Women in American History and Culture."
The program featured songs, tributes, and a poem by crew-members searving aboard the "Revolutionary Gator."
"Singing is one of my favorite pastimes," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate Airman Crystal Jackson, who sung Sam Cooke's "A Change Gonna Come." "So, whenever I'm asked to sing for celebrations commemorating my heritage, I feel a deep sense of obligation and honored at the same time."
Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Lashonda Malone served as guest speaker.
"I was so honored that the crew chose me," said Malone. "This is something I will always remember and I will be forever grateful for having had this opportunity."
Malone spoke of African-American women past and present who have greatly influenced the rich history of America, but specifically acknowledged a female master chief who mentored her at a previous command as having the greatest impact on her life and career.
"Rosa Parks is someone we all grew up learning about and Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned poets and authors of our time," said Malone. "However, the lady who has had the greatest impact on my life serves in the military as I do, and has been a mentor helping guide me both in my personal life as well as in my 17-year career of naval service."
Malone added that she had to overcome many obstacles in her career, and if it had not been for the plight of those African-American women who came before her that she would not be where she is today.
As the crew dispersed from the hangar bay, BHR concluded its African-American History Month celebration with a cake-cutting ceremony held on the mess decks.
"All I can say is, what a great program," said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Sakana Gray. "It's always good to see such amazing talent and to hear of those things that have brought us to where we are now."