Changes made to base 2014 special observance program

by Linda Long
42nd Air Base Wing Equal Opportunity

2/28/2014 -  MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Since 1968, the Department of Defense has supported observances through development of local programs of recognition and diverse activities. Ethnic and special observances are conducted to enhance cross-cultural awareness and to promote diversity among all military members, civilian employees, contractors, family members and retirees.

The focus is to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans and to increase awareness, mutual respect and understanding. Active command support and leadership along with thorough planning are key fundamentals for the program's success.

In the past, while some observance committees planned well-supported, well-attended events, other observances were well-planned but participation was extremely low or nil and still other observances received no committee volunteer responses.

Because of low participation in planning and executing events, some changes were made to the Maxwell 2014 special observances program. The DOD endorses 10 special observances per year. In an effort to maximize awareness and participation in the special observances program and increase active command support, all special observances will be assigned to a unit throughout Team Maxwell to spearhead the planning and execution of events.

Five observances will be observed as stand-alone events and are assigned to units as noted:

· Medical Group: Holocaust Remembrance, April 27-May 4
· Mission Support Group: Pride Month, June
· Mission Support Group: Women's Equality Day, Aug. 26
· Medical Group: National Disabilities Employment, October

The remaining five observances will be observed in a combined, half-day "Cultural Awareness Day" event on June 20 and are assigned to units as noted.

· 42nd Air Base Wing: African American/Black History Month
· Air Force Life Cycle Management Center: Women's History Month
· 26th Network Operations Squadron: Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month
· International Officer School: Hispanic Heritage Month
· 908th Airlift Wing/Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education: National American Indian Heritage Month

The assigned group will appoint a project officer for its designated observance and forward the selectee's information (name, rank, unit and duty phone) to the EO office.

The assigned group is primarily responsible for the event; each committee should contain a project officer and at least 10 or more committee members. All project officers will meet with the installation commander within prescribed timelines prior to the observance to discuss the wing's expectations of the special observance. After meeting with the commander, project officers will meet with the EO office to discuss additional objectives.

Although observances have been assigned to different units, this does not preclude spouses, members from other units and other racial, ethnic and/or genders from volunteering to assist with planning observance events with whom they do not identify.

Combined observances will be highlighted in their respective months through articles in the Dispatch, the base bulletin, base library displays and other means of expression. Individual units and private organizations may arrange events in accordance with legal guidelines and coordination with the installation commander's office. For information, call the 42nd Air Base Wing EO office at 953-5107/6010.