Story by PO2 Matthew Clutter on 02/24/2017The guest speaker was David Alexander III, the first African American Chief of Police of the Pensacola, Fla., Police Department.
Alexander spoke on his faith and how it has guided him through his life and career. He touched on the event's theme, "Success Always Leaves Footprints," a quote made famous by Booker T. Washington. He also spoke on the importance of leading by example.
"You never know who is watching," Alexander said. "You never know who needs an example. You never know who needs motivation."
The event also highlighted several influential African Americans throughout history, from Rosa Parks to Barack Obama. Parks was considered the "first lady of civil rights" after refusing to give up her seat in the white section of a bus in 1955.
Six other individuals were celebrated, in addition to Parks and Obama, including Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Carter G. Woodson, and Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Hurston was an anthropologist and award-winning writer whose works include "Mules and Men" and "Their Eyes Were Watching God."
Baldwin was an essayist, playwright and novelist who broke new literary ground with the exploration of racial and social issues in his many works. His influence saw him emerge as one of the leading voices in the Civil Rights Movement.
Douglas was a former slave who became a prominent American abolitionist, author and orator. For 16 years, he edited an influential black newspaper and achieved international fame as a speaker and writer.
Tubman used the Underground Railroad to help free slaves and later became active in the women's suffrage movement. She became an icon of American courage and freedom and, in 2016, announced as the replacement for Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Woodson is known as the Father of Black History Month, received a doctorate from Harvard and dedicated his career to the field of African American history.
Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and science communicator who is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York. In 1997, he founded the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.
As Alexander alluded, "Even before me, even before you, there were people charting steps."
African Americans play a critical role in today's Navy, too. Nineteen percent of the Navy's enlisted force identifies as African American or Black, to include 17 percent of senior and master chiefs. Seven percent of the officer force and four percent of all admirals similarly identify as African American or Black.
In the Navy's civilian work force, 15 percent are African American or Black, and 20 percent are Senior Executive Service members.
These numbers highlight the diverse work force that makes up the Navy and enables it to successfully operate in a worldwide capacity. Integrating Sailors and civilians from different backgrounds and cultures allows the Navy to train future leaders who epitomize that diversity.
As part of that effort to foster growth in the African American community, the Navy partners with organizations to help expand its efforts. Organizations such as the National Naval Officers Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities all support African American service members and civilians. Also, the Navy supports Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), an organization that encourages young minority students to pursue careers in science and industry.
"What an honor it was to hear Chief Alexander speak," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Puzan, NMOTC Diversity Officer. "His is an experience that all Sailors can learn from."
NMOTC reports to the Navy Medicine Education, Training, and Logistics Command (NMETLC), the sole point of accountability for Navy Medicine education and logistical support.
Both NMOTC and NMETLC are part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea, and on the battlefield.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.