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Black History Month program scheduled

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

The 55th Wing commander will host a Black History Month Program at the Warhawk Community Center at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 25, 2020.

February is Black History Month, a time to honor the contributions of African Americans to American culture and society, and the event will feature a keynote speaker, comedian, live music, representatives from local organizations and more.

“Black History Month provides an opportunity for reflection on the many achievements and contributions of African Americans to our great nation,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander. “Within our Air Force, diversity has helped spur innovation and create a competitive advantage over our adversaries. Diversity isn’t simply nice to have, it’s a warfighting imperative and an absolute must.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Omaha native Richard Webb, the chief executive officer of the civic organization 100 Black Men of Omaha. Webb’s involvement in the organization began when he was in eighth grade with his participation in the African American history challenge. He has since been a mentor, board member, president-elect and now CEO of the organization’s Omaha chapter.

“It is critical that we invite Offutt’s outside organizations to come and speak to our Airmen,” said Almeda Lopez, Offutt Community Support coordinator. “It opens up dialogue and broadens our understanding of cultural diversity which encourages such coexistence on a larger scale.”

Musical performances by a duo from the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, Papillion-LaVista South High School students and the Offutt Child Development Center children are scheduled for the event, along with the comedy stylings of Senior Airman Xavier Jones, 338th Combat Training Squadron.

February was formally recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford in 1976. It was originally conceived in 1926 as Negro History Week by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

Webb’s involvement in the organization began when he was in eighth grade with his participation in the African American history challenge. He has since been a mentor, board member, president-elect and now CEO of the organization’s Omaha chapter.