News: DCMA AQ celebrates diversity with multi-cultural luncheon
Story by Nick D'Amario
FORT LEE, Va. - Employees of Defense Contract Management Agency Contracts Directorate celebrated diversity with cuisine, displays and team-building games during a multicultural luncheon here April 11.
Tatia Evelyn-Bellamy, DCMA Defense Acquisition Regulations Council representative, developed the concept during February’s Black History Month. “I wanted to do something to celebrate Black History, but I decided to expand that idea and make it a multicultural, all-in-one event. This event provides everyone an opportunity to share in a multitude of cultures and cuisine,” she said.
Culinary offerings representative of African-American, German, Irish, Italian, Korean, Vietnamese and other ethnicities were prepared by AQ employees for the event. The assortment of appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts drew audible “oohs” and “ahs” as employees indulged their taste buds by sampling the diverse cuisines.
“We never really get to know people in the work place, and food is a great way to create relationships — it opens the door to sharing, learning and enjoying other ethnicities,” said Evelyn-Bellamy. “It’s about recognition, diversity and respect by including the different in our everyday lives.”
Evelyn-Bellamy secured a team of volunteers from AQ for the large multicultural undertaking. Together, they prepared DCMA headquarters meeting rooms near the cafeteria to accommodate the food offerings and sizable cultural display. The display featured cultural and ethnic art, icons, history and other information contributed by employees wanting to share and create awareness of their cultural background.
George Braxton, the agency’s Special Adviser for Diversity and Inclusion, was invited by Tim Callahan, AQ executive director, as the guest speaker for the multicultural event. “When you have a program that adds to the general morale in the work force, fosters an understanding and connection among co-workers both in and out of the work place, where an individual’s uniqueness adds value to the agency — that’s the inclusion element of diversity,” said Braxton.
Braxton praised AQ and the agency on the event. “We’re available to consult, educate and support any outreach element of diversity and inclusion. The key is that any program and event, such as this multicultural luncheon hosted by AQ, aligns with the mission and goals of the agency,” he said.
Callahan, quoting from the book, “The Loudest Duck,” noted that, “Diversity in the workplace is a wonderful thing.” He went on to say, “When you couple our workforce diversity with the shared vision and values of our agency, that is a powerful force for supporting our customers: the taxpayer and the warfighter.”
DCMA Deputy Director Jim Russell told Evelyn-Bellamy, the multicultural luncheon is an ideal means to celebrate diversity, and other directorates will most likely follow AQ’s example.