Guantanamo Bay residents kick-off Women’s History Month

By Sgt. James Braswell | Joint Task Force Guantanamo | March 1, 2018

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba —

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay residents celebrated Women’s History Month with a kick-off event hosted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Maritime Security Detachment at the Downtown Lyceum here, March 1, 2018. The event opened with keynote speaker, Cmdr. Anne Leanos, JTF-GTMO public affairs director, and featured a special screening of the movie “Hidden Figures.”

March is Women’s History Month and celebrates women’s achievements in culture, politics, science, religion, and activism. This special observance also brings awareness to the struggles and achievements of women throughout the history of the United States.

“Nevertheless she persisted: Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination,” chosen by the JTF-GTMO Women’s History Month committee, is this year’s Women’s History Month theme.

“It is important to celebrate Women’s History Month to recognize the challenges faced by women in the past in order to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the present, so we can foster awareness and help shape the future,” said the event coordinator.

The movie “Hidden Figures” captures the story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, African-American women whose calculations were instrumental in launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit and win the Space Race for the United States.

This film was chosen as a Women’s History Month feature because the women portrayed endured explicit racism and sexism, and persevered against continual discrimination while working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In the 1950’s and early 60’s, most careers involving women did not extend outside the home, which was a theme Leanos emphasized when she asked the audience to raise their hands if they agreed with a quote from Hidden Figures.

“Jackson, played by Janelle Monáe in the film said, ‘We go from being our father’s daughters, to our husband’s wives, to our babies’ mothers…,’”said Leanos.

After many of the women in the audience raised their hands, Leanos replied, “For me, her statement is one that captures not only our desire, but also our destiny to be our own person, and to step into our power and greatness as professional women; as Soldiers, Sailors, Coastguardsmen, Airmen and Marines.”

Leanos explained that the number of females who served in the U.S. armed forces since 1990 has increased.

“My advice to all of you is to embrace the present, reach for the future and to run, full speed ahead towards the finish line,” Leanos said. “Stand tall, stand strong in your fight against all forms of discrimination and know that you have a sisterhood and mentors to uplift, support and run with you.”

The next event celebrating Women’s History Month is scheduled to be held at the NEX Atrium here, Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Details of the event will be available in the coming weeks.

Meetings for Women’s History Month will continue throughout March, and are held on Tuesday’s at 5:30 p.m. in Room 15 of the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Chapel Annex.