JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, UNITED STATES
Story by Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens
The African-American Heritage Committee hosted a celebration feast at the Iditarod Dining Facility (DFAC) Feb. 23, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in honor of Black History Month.
The DFAC served a special menu, “A Taste of African-American Culture,” as patrons enjoyed food and live music from the 9th Army Band, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, U.S. Army Alaska. At their tables, informational cards contained facts about African-American history.
Senior Master Sgt. Demond Ingram, the 773d Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent of facility systems and chair of the African-American Heritage Committee, said the intent was for participants to come to the meal and walk away with more knowledge of African-American history and the culture surrounding food.
“A lot of it came from poverty; [African-Americans] took the scraps and were able to make a full cuisine out of nothing, and it became American history, ” Ingram said.
The menu contained many dishes, including barbecue spareribs, black-eyed peas, breaded okra, and cornbread muffins. Information about soul food and its roots educated participants about the significance of the dishes.
As well as educating people on the history behind the food, other resources were offered, like books celebrating AAHM available at the JBER Library. Virtual events and workshops were also dedicated to the month, as well as other celebrations and resources available near JBER.
“There’s history you see everyday, but there are things that you don’t know, and we wanted to make sure that we got that information out,” said Tech. Sgt. Tynissha Cromer, the 3rd Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager and a Diversity and Inclusion team member.
This celebration was one of many events offered throughout African-American Heritage Month to help educate and celebrate the diversity and culture the U.S. and military are made of.
“Our country is the reflection of all our ancestry, so it is important that this observance focuses towards educating us all,” said Mrs. Erica Ingram, 673d Medical Group health systems specialist, who was essential in overseeing the event.
Throughout the month of February, the JBER Consolidated Library hosted virtual readings each Monday, where volunteers would read books celebrating African-American culture. A Black History Month leadership panel was also hosted by the heritage committee, and can be found https://www.dvidshub.net/video/832380/jber-hosts-black-history-month-leadership-panel.