Soulful Lunch focus on Black History Month

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U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Kirby Addison, the program manager for Vermont National Guard Black Employment initiative and a member of the 158th Fighter Wing’s Communications Flight organizes and coordinates events, such as these, to facilitate objective group discussions as well as cultural reflection.

“Just to be able to have the open and honest conversations and the hard conversations I think are important instead of sweeping issues under the rug; just getting to know each other throughout the years... it’s all about bringing awareness and education to make everyone feel like we’re part of an organization that celebrates all cultures,” said Addison.

A purpose of CDET-hosted events is to validate the necessity of sharing open and honest dialogues by way of inclusion. In turn, providing opportunity to learn and collaborate amongst members of the Vermont National Guard.

Morris’ words reflected those of the intent and purpose within the CDET’s mission. She discussed her experiences of adversity and perseverance.

“In an environment like this where our colleagues are also our family, where there is a brotherhood and sisterhood, isolation (and) marginalization is toxic to the soul because it is the very fabric of who we are as a society,” mentioned Morris.

Morris continued to discuss how biased traits and behaviors are counterintuitive to a successful organization and society alike.

She concluded her presentation by empowering her audience to employ a profound sense of commitment as a means to persevere.

“Committing ourselves to the work ahead; committing ourselves to our community we live in and serve; committing ourselves to the state which we call home; committed to contribute our gifts, our labor, our lives for this nation,” said Morris.

Following Morris, attendees shared in a meal and discussions on cultural awareness and the way ahead in the Vermont National Guard.
“I still think there’s some work to be done. We’re proud to be Americans and we just want to be valued like everyone else,” Addison mentioned.