Celebrating Black History Month

RAF Mildenhall -- February is Black History Month and African-American History Month and events are planned to raise awareness of both.

Black History Month is one of the seven federally-mandated events held every year, and African-American History Month started in 1926 as a way of celebrating black history, said Capt. Michael Epper, 100th Air Refueling Wing Military Equal Opportunity Office.

Throughout February, the MEO offices and Black History Month committee are working together to hold events to promote awareness. This year's theme is "From slavery to freedom: The story of Africans in the Americas."

The events, running throughout February, are as follows:

-- A Gospel Fest is Feb. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. in the RAF Lakenheath chapel. Local choirs will perform and a fellowship dinner will be served afterwards. For more information, call Ch. (Maj.) Calvin Dixon at 226-3711.

-- Poetry and essay contest - The contest runs until Feb. 16. The contest is open to Department of Defense Dependents Schools students, and has two entry categories: sixth to eighth grade, and ninth to 12th grade. There is also a coloring contest for first through fifth grade students. Winners will receive AAFES gift certificates. The high school winner will have the opportunity to recite their poem at the luncheon Feb. 27.

-- Book reading - Volunteers are needed to read to Lakenheath Middle School and Feltwell Elementary School students every Tuesday and Thursday until Feb. 27.

-- Fashion show/Spoken word gala - The event Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Galaxy Club will feature fashion ranging from original African attire to today's fashion. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 4 to 12. Under-3s are free. Hors-d'oeuvres are included in the ticket price. To buy tickets, call the MEO office at 238-2468 or 226-2468, or Cathy Cooley at 01638-531802.

-- A celebration lunch is Feb. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Galaxy Club. Tickets cost $11.75 club members and $13.75 non-club members. The guest speaker is Col. Johnnie Seward Jr. To buy tickets, call Jennifer Sturdivant at 238-7900.

"All members of our Air Force family are highly encouraged to participate in these (DoD-mandated special observances) worthy events, irrespective of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex or age," said Senior Master Sgt. Roosevelt Wilson, 48th Fighter Wing Military Equal Opportunity Office chief. "The overarching goals of special observances are to enhance our appreciation of the diversity of our citizenship, and of the contributions of individuals from all ethnic backgrounds and gender to the development of our society and the U.S. Air Force."

For more information on any of the above events, call Angela Robinson at