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    179th Airlift Wing Observes Black History Month

    179th Airlift Wing Observes Black History Month

    Photo By Senior Airman Alexis Wade | Senior Airman Dionna Sims, Security Forces members from the 179th Airlift Wing, poses...... read more read more

    MANSFIELD, OH, UNITED STATES

    01.19.2019

    Story by Airman Alexis Wade 

    179th Airlift Wing

    Since 1976, February has been nationally observed as Black History Month. At face value, the observance could mean celebrating the progress and achievements of the African American community while acknowledging historical struggles of injustice. Another focus is social progress moving forward and setting goals for the milestones that have yet to be reached.

    Senior Airman Dionna Sims, a Security Forces Squadron member from the 179th Airlift Wing, feels that Black History Month is an important reminder of the past, present and future.

    It is important to not only celebrate the past accomplishments African Americans have had, but we also need to continue looking to the future on what we still have to accomplish, said Sims.

    As a part of the Ohio Air National Guard, Sims has witnessed her unit reach historical milestones for the African American Community, for example Chief Master Sergeant Sean D. Woodson becoming the first African American Chief Master Sergeant at the 179th Airlift Wing in August of 2017.

    Sims knows there is still much that the African American Community has to accomplish, and hopes to be a leading force in reaching those milestones.

    Since joining the Guard four years ago, Sims has had many opportunities for growth in her career, looking to promote to Staff Sergeant in March, with goals to eventually become a Commissioned Officer. Sims said she plans to use her experiences in the Guard to continue being a leader, mentor and inspiration to the African American community.

    Prior to enlisting, Sims had her hands full as a single mom working at the Court of Common Pleas while also working towards finishing her degree at the University of Cincinnati. After meeting with a recruiter, she learned of the numerous benefits the Guard had to offer and was sold.

    Sims said leaving her family and job to go to basic training and technical training was a hard decision, but one she does not regret. She hopes to be able to help spread the word about the Guard and all that it has to offer.

    Sims believes the Guard really is the best kept secret in the Air Force, and she hopes that the Guard sharing stories like hers will continue to advertise these opportunities to urban communities and predominantly Black institutions to inform them of the opportunities right in their backyard.

    “It's not that we don’t want to join the Guard, we don’t know about it,” said Sims. “How can I do something that I have no knowledge of, no resources for? Come to us because we aren't going to come to you, we don’t know where you are.”

    Sims expressed hope to see a continued growth of diversity in the Air Force. The Air Force as a whole is striving towards increasing its diversity in order to create a better, stronger, more diverse Total Force.

    Sims knows that communication is a huge part of a successful workforce and believes that focusing on communication will help a growth in diversity.

    Diversity brings people together and introduces a change of thought, sometimes it requires people to face feeling unfamiliar with one another and communicate about that.

    Uncomfortable conversations need to be had in order to get past stereotypes and other preconceived ideas that keep everyone from working together to their maximum potential, said Sims.

    “I truly believe there is a want and a need to have uncomfortable conversations,” said Sims. “People are trying to be politically correct, and sometimes there are conversations that you have to say, ‘I'm trying to understand you, you're trying to understand me’ without getting offended.”

    Black History Month gives individuals the opportunity to recognize and celebrate all successes and sacrifices that African Americans have endured in the past, as well as the opportunity to open communication and understanding of the cultural differences and cultural similarities of those around us. In doing this, we will reach a better understanding of those around us, resulting in a stronger, more cohesive team of Airman, across the entire Air Force.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.19.2019
    Date Posted: 02.01.2019 16:04
    Story ID: 307714
    Location: MANSFIELD, OH, US 

    Web Views: 83
    Downloads: 0
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