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    Remembering, Celebrating and Acting on the Dream of Dr. King

    Guest Speaker for MLK Oberservance

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner | Maj. Diana A’Xaymac, executive officer, Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion First...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner 

    1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade

    On 22 Jan at Riley’s Community Center at Fort Riley, Kansas, the First Infantry Division’s equal opportunity program leaders combined forces to remember, celebrate, and act on the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a day of observation as well as a “Day On”.
    Sgt. 1st Class Angelica Meza, equal opportunity advisor for 1ID Sustainment Brigade, spearheaded the event on behalf of the ‘Durable Brigade’. Meza orchestrated the event as well as finding the guest speaker, Maj. Diana A’Xaymac, Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion, 1ID Executive Officer.
    “We have a process of how we select a guest speaker,” Meza said. “You have to be a major or above if we select an officer. Sergeant Major for the enlisted side and we have a panel that decides who will be a guest speaker for equal opportunity events. It’s a process because not just anyone can speak at an event, especially when it’s a division level event.”
    A’Xaymac said that when Meza approached her as a possible candidate as a guest speaker she was flattered and scared at the same time.
    “Sgt. 1st Class Meza came into my office one day and said I would be a great candidate to speak at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day event,” A’Xaymac said. “You’ve got to turn in an application and all of that because it’s not an automatic thing. A week or so later I was notified that I was chosen.”
    The theme of “Day On” resonates with A’Xaymac specifically. She feels as though Dr. King’s sacrifice was not meant to be a day of rest because of impending change to the country.
    “As long as I can remember I have been doing something in the community on that day,” A’Xaymac said. “I really believe in what Dr. King did. Just as I spoke about donating blankets, scarfs, even feeding the homeless…everywhere I move to I reach out into the community and find out what they are doing to support their community. Just last week I was in [Washington] D.C. at Martha’s Table giving out blankets, hats and scarfs to the homeless in Washington, D.C.”
    The message A’Xaymac shared was one of the Army taking action, and leading the way of unity and diversity during the Korean War. During this time it was not socially acceptable for blacks and other minorities to serve side by side with their white counterparts.
    “An executive order [9981] was signed by President Truman that desegregated the armed forces,” A’Xaymac said. “It didn’t matter if you were African American or Caucasian. All that mattered was that we were fighting side by side and I could trust you to have my back if I need it. That was the first time the services were open and integrated.”
    Growing up in a military family was a major part of A’Xaymac’s decision to serve. She said that hearing stories about the Korean War actually helped her make the life altering decision.
    “My grandfather always talked to me about Vietnam and the Korean War,” A’Xaymac said. “That played a big part in my feelings as to what we [the armed forces] are doing as humanitarians in the Army around the world.”
    At the conclusion of the event Col. Brian Olson, commander, 1ID Sustainment Brigade, shared parting words which tied into the message A’Xaymac delivered.
    “Dr. King began his famous “I have a dream” speech with the 5 score years ago,” Olson said. “He quickly realized that it wasn’t resonating and then he heard a whisper. Maliyah Jackson whispered ‘talk about the dream’ and he put down his notes and what happened next is history. The application of that, my recommendation, is to listen before making decisions. Listen to advisors, your noncommissioned officers, officers, peers, family members, friends, and people you trust to give you honest advice. Then make decisions through intelligence and character, through your head and your heart. Then once you’ve made a decision, move out and get her done. In Dr. King’s words, use of intelligence plus character equals mission success.”



    Date Taken: 01.22.2020
    Date Posted: 01.28.2020 17:06
    Story ID: 360481
    Location: FORT RILEY, KS, US 
    Hometown: BIRMINGHAM, AL, US
    Hometown: WASHINGTON, DC, US

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