laafb MLK2010
Mr. J. David Reeves, national president of Blacks In Government, Inc., served as guest speaker at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration held at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Space and Missile Systems Center, El Segundo, Calif., Jan 14. (Photo by Lou Hernandez)
MLK Luncheon Celebrates Dr King's Dream

by Capt. Dave Wilson
SMC Public Affairs

1/29/2010 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif --  Nearly 300 people attended the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon held here in the Gordon Conference Center, Jan. 14. The event was hosted by Col. Anita Latin, 61st Air Base Wing commander, and the Space and Missile Systems Center.

J. David Reeves, national president of Blacks In Government was the guest speaker at the event. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Reeves works at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he is a member of the Senior Executive Service. He currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for the Real Estate Assessment Center. In 2008, he was elected as the 11th national president of Blacks In Government, an advocacy organization representing more than 3.5 million African-American civilian and military employees at the federal, state and local government levels nationwide.

Other special guests included eight surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen: Ted Lumpkin, Clarence Finley, James Pratt, Louis Hill, Oliver Goodall, Bill Robinson, Otis Cowley and Claude Davis.

"It brings us great pleasure to commemorate and recognize the sacrifices, diligence and warrior spirit that Dr. King displayed during his short life," said Capt. Chennel Johnson, the program's master of ceremonies.

Kicking off the event, children from the Los Angeles Air Force Base's Child Development Center sang the National Anthem. The program also included Michelle Wilson's recitation of Robert Frost's poem, "The Road not Taken," Felicia Brown singing "The Impossible Dream" from the musical Man of La Mancha, and Tasha Geter singing "God Bless America" while Earl Hanna recited an original piece based on the Gettysburg Address.

New this year, the committee recognized three SMC and The Aerospace Corporation employees by awarding the first Content of the Character awards. The award honors members for living Dr. King's dream of nurturing, educating and empowering others around them. Mary Davis, SMC Plans and Programs; Xavier Galindo, The Aerospace Corporation, and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, 61st Force Support Squadron were this year's honorees.

"The reality of Dr. King's dream is on the faces of each one of us," said Col. Latin. "Together we are his legacy and this is our tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

"Overall, I am very proud of this year's MLK event and the message of diversity and service to community," said Capt. Crystal Williams, 61st Medical Support Squadron and the event's project officer. "Dr. King was not only a civil rights activist but a man whose vision was for a world that would be better with each and every passing day ... we were very successful in reaching out to personnel at SMC, Aerospace and locally to share that message."