Fort Hamilton, N.Y. – Fort Hamilton members recognized Black History Month with an observance at the post theater here, Feb. 11.Fort Hamilton’s mission partner, New York National Guard’s Joint Task Force – Empire Shield, planned the event to reflect upon and celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the nation. This year’s BHM theme was, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” highlighting the African American family, leadership, and service.“The Army embraces its commitment to promote diversity, foster inclusive behavior, and demonstrate respect for each individual,” said Army Col. Craig Martin, Fort Hamilton Garrison Commander. “We thank Joint Task Force – Empire Shield for hosting this event for us.”The ceremony started off with two poem readings by JTF-ES members, Air Force Senior Airman Tiffany Stewart and Senior Airman Maurisa Massiah.Massiah, who read Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ poem, claimed that the piece was meaningful to her."The path that our ancestors paved was the foundation of our freedom,” said Massiah. “Maya Angelou skillfully describes the pain, triumph and pride that our people experienced so I can appreciate that. At the same time I can apply this to my own life and it inspirations for generations to come. Practicing the lyrics for my recital has taught me a lot I am full of pride to speak her words. There are lessons in this story...for all of us."Stewart, who read Amanda Gorman’s (the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate) poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’, shares, “The poem is relevant, restorative, and reflective. As a young black woman, she was able to breathe hope and understanding into a work of art for the whole world to hear. It is timeless, and I have no doubt it will be remembered and recited long after this time in our history is over."The poem readings were followed with a video presentation and speech from guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Corey K. Cush, 42d Infantry Division Command Sergeant Major.