Cultural diversity was on display at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka headquarters during an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration May 29 onboard Yokosuka Naval Base.
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LS2 Mervin Paje, a NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka logistics specialist who works in the Industrial Support Department, tries his hand at the Japanese taiko drum during an Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at Yokosuka headquarters May 29.
Since 1977, the month of May has been a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the American story, which represents more than 30 different countries of origin and ethnic groups, as well as about 100 different languages.
The theme of the event was “I Am Beyond,” which describes transcending beyond barriers to equal opportunity in America.
“We are in a unique position serving overseas with many of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s sites covering a very large portion of the world that represents the very same cultures that we are celebrating today,” said Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, commanding officer. “From here on Tokyo Bay to the Philippines … from the beaches of Guam to the harbor in Hong Kong … from the Korean peninsula down to the city of Singapore … our large operational footprint covers the diverse range of peoples that make up this unique community.”
During the observance, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel enjoyed educational reading highlighting the many AAPI accomplishments throughout history, including the Chinese immigrants who laid the track for the transcontinental railroad as well as the fight for equality by the Japanese-American citizens who were forced into internment camps during World War II.
A special performance of Japanese drums and flutes had the crowd of more than 100 spectators clapping along to the beat.
“To our speakers and performers today … you were amazing,” Capt. Bichard said.
“As the President of the United States put out in a proclamation earlier this month, it is ‘with courage, grit, and an abiding belief in American ideals, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have challenged our Nation to be better,’” he added.
“I can easily say that our country, our Navy and this command is better because of the many contributions put forth by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community members,” Capt. Bichard added.
The U.S. Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals with the Department of Defense themes being promulgated by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).
“Thank you everyone for taking part in today’s event,” Capt. Bichard said. “We will continue to celebrate diversity here at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka and I can’t wait to see everyone at our other observances throughout the year.”
Story by Sky M. Laron; NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications