ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — The U.S. Army Sustainment Command headquarters has wrapped up a month celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Embracing the principles of equality and justice, the headquarters has been honoring the month of Dr. King’s birthday by hosting events that pay tribute to the iconic civil rights leader. The activities were developed by the ASC staffs in the Legal Office and the Acquisition and Integrated Management Center.
The month-long recognition was focused on the dedication to promote equality, understanding, and unity within ASC. It echoes the Department of Defense’s official proclamation expressing appreciation for the civil rights leader’s legacy, which “recognizes that freedom, equality, and inclusion are true force multipliers and imperative to the national defense and our nation’s strength. The men and women of the DOD honor Dr. King by living up to the standard he set. Together we safeguard his legacy and, as one DOD family, rise to meet today’s challenges.”
Angela Bassier, AIM staff action officer, said bringing Dr. King’s message to the workforce was a significant team-building opportunity. Bassier said diversity and inclusion are core strengths of ASC, and that the mix of personalities and skills is essential to the carrying out of ASC’s mission – supporting Soldiers.
"I think it's important for people to understand that ASC honors Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy,” Bassier said. “We honor his ideals and strive to create a work atmosphere that reflects his teachings of equality, justice, and inclusivity, and where every member of our staff feels valued."
The celebration kicked off with a cake-cutting ceremony Jan. 5, with remarks from Maj. Gen. David Wilson, ASC commanding general. The ceremony served as a focal point for staff, Soldiers and Civilians, to come together, and reflect on the profound impact of Dr. King's teachings.
"Being new to ASC the cake cutting ceremony was a great opportunity for camaraderie for everyone,” said Amber McDonnell, AIM admin specialist. “Celebrating the words of Dr. King and honoring him was a chance to reflect on his life. Having this at the beginning of the year was a wonderful chance to think about serving as Dr. King would want us to do."
ASC staff were encouraged to emulate Dr. King in renouncing racial division and making efforts to bring people together. Messages echoing Dr. King’s teachings were sent to the members of the ASC family throughout the month, asking them to reach out to the community through volunteer and other support activities.
Bassier said another highlight of the month-long observance was bringing in Thurgood Brooks, a Quad City community organizer, who believes deeply in the power of citizens to create positive change. He has spent his career advocating for youth, businesses, and development of partnerships for the betterment of the surrounding Quad City community.
Brooks has a strong tie with the Rock Island Arsenal. He is a Quad City native and is the grandson of two veterans who are buried in the Rock Island National Cemetery.
His presentation, held in the G-3 (Operations) training room, was streamed to all ASC headquarters staff members, and titled “Remember, Celebrate, Act.” He encouraged his audience to branch outside their everyday work and try to make a positive difference in the community. He said, “Do your job, and a little bit more.”
Brooks said he is a firm believer of the old African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
By fostering an environment that honors Dr. King's legacy, Bassier said the headquarters aims to inspire its members to continue the work towards a more inclusive and just society. In doing so, they embody the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by carrying his dream forward and ensuring that his message remains alive and impactful for generations to come.