Celebrating 50 years of Civil Rights in America

Story by Sgt. Christopher Vann

JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs

The Black Heritage Organization (BHO) held their annual Black History Month banquet, where residents and military members came together to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, at Guantanamo Bay, Saturday, Feb. 22.

It was a night filled with food, fun and fellowship, starting with the National Anthem sung by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Owens, as the Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay Color Guard posted the colors.

Army Col. Larry Campbell, the event’s keynote speaker, gave a riveting account of past encounters, and encouraged the audience that change is present.

“In the African-American community, we are better off now than we were 50 years ago,” said Campbell, “and life experiences teach us that we can’t know where we’re going without [first] looking back at where we’ve been.”

This year’s theme was Civil Rights in America and the collection of diverse attendees was a testament that America is headed in the right direction.

“We must not forget or fail to remember the lessons learned of the past,” said Campbell.

Milta Dumas, vice president of the BHO and a woman of Puerto Rican decent, says that in order to help the community, you have to invest in it. Dumas has donated countless hours to assist in charity work and fundraisers.

“It’s all about giving back,” said Dumas, “no matter your background; we all need to come together for change to work.”

Campbell maintained that the importance of the gathering is equality and emphasized that there is still more work to be done.

“You’ve got to have a commitment and the right attitude to continue this journey in life to make it all worthwhile,” said Campbell.

For information on joining the BHO contact Mr. Caton at 79449 or Milta Dumas 77619.