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Yokota Unites Community during Black History Month Celebrations

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Spencer Tobler
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 374th Airlift Wing concluded its Black History Month celebrations with a closeout event at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 2.

February stands as an opportune time to not only celebrate but also to deeply reflect upon the profound impact African-Americans have made on the world. The 374th AW, in collaboration with the Yokota African-American Heritage Committee, took proactive steps throughout the month to orchestrate a series of events aimed at immersing the community in black culture and the arts. 

Chief Master Sgt. Jasmine Howell, 374th Force Support Squadron senior enlisted leader, provided remarks during the closeout event and spoke about the importance of recognizing the contributions of African-Americans. 

“Black history is not just a chapter in a book,” said Howell. “It is a living testament to resilience, courage, and extraordinary talents that have shaped our world for the better. As we reflect on the profound contributions of black trailblazers, let us commit ourselves to carrying their legacy forward.”

Diverse events unfolded throughout the month, each contributing to the tapestry of cultural appreciation. Storytelling at the Yokota Community Center saw Airmen from various units across the wing read biographies of African-American historical figures to children. A movie night was held to showcase the life of an individual who championed social justice, peace, and unity. 

“We had our Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts, students with the Department of Defense Education Activity, and wing Airmen involved in different events throughout the month,” said Master Sgt. Kelcey McDonald, audio engineer for the Band of the Pacific. “This allowed for people from various cultures, ethnicities, and age groups to all participate and learn.” 

The community also enjoyed a spirited dance through the decades, prompting attendees to don attire reflective of their favorite era. The month culminated with a living history museum, where Yokota Airmen and students immersed themselves in the personas of notable African-American figures and shared their stories. 

“The goal was to have participants learn, lead and be entertained,” said McDonald. “We also wanted to bring together as many people in the community as possible.”

The 374th AW continues to ensure mission readiness by leveraging the pillars of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and optimizing diverse talent to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.