Luncheon recognizes MLK, revisits Scott Air Force Base’s civil rights progression

Col. Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, presents a certificate to the Scott Air Force Base Youth Center during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, Jan. 16, 2017, Scott AFB, Ill. Each room of the youth center participated in a poster design competition about what Dr. King’s legacy means. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melissa Estevez)

Col. Terrence A. Adams, Air Mobility Command director of communications, and Chief Master Sgt. Diane K. Slazinik, 375th Communications Group superintendent spoke about diversity and inclusion during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, Jan. 16, 2018 Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The theme for this year’s celebration is "MLK 50 forward: together we win with love for humanity." (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melissa Estevez)

Col. Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, presents a certificate to the Scott Air Force Base Youth Center during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, Jan. 16, 2017, Scott AFB, Ill. Each room of the youth center participated in a poster design competition about what Dr. King’s legacy means. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melissa Estevez)

Col. Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, presents a certificate to the Scott Air Force Base Youth Center during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, Jan. 16, 2017, Scott AFB, Ill. Each room of the youth center participated in a poster design competition about what Dr. King’s legacy means. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melissa Estevez)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

In recognition of the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Scott Air Force Base held a MLK Jr. Luncheon on Jan. 16 at the Scott Event Center. The theme for this year’s event was, “MLK 50 Forward: Together we win with love for humanity.”

Col. Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, said the event was a tribute to the contributions and impact that Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy has had on the country.

“Today I am grateful to be surrounded by so many men and women of character, including our guest speakers,” said Buschur.

The guest speakers, Col. Terrence A. Adams, Air Mobility Command director of communications, and Chief Master Sgt. Diane K. Slazinik, 375th Communications Group superintendent, were recently selected as Air Mobility Command’s Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Year for 2017.

“Dr. King was revolutionary in his day and his words continue to be revolutionary today,” said Slazinik. “He knew the importance of inclusion and working together.

“Over the years extensive studies have led to a more balanced and comprehensive assessment of his life, portraying him as a complex figure: flawed as we all are, yet a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means.”

Adams encouraged everyone to sit down with someone they might not know or someone who comes from a different background and have a conversation on how to change, come up with different solutions and move forward.

Senior Airman Lorna Booze, the emcee for the event said that Scott AFB faced—and overcame—racial challenges throughout its history.

She spoke about the 46th Aviation Squadron and 934th Quartermaster Platoon (segregated black units) that arrived at Scott Field and underwent basic training in 1942.

It wasn’t until July of 1948 that former president Truman issued executive order 9981, which ended segregation in the armed forces.

Faced with a problem requiring tactful handling, Scott AFB proceeded with implementation of the non-segregation policy in definitive progressive stages.

Another little known fact is that Illinois became the first state to establish Dr. King’s birthday as an official holiday, and was sponsored by Illinois Assemblyman Harold Washington.

In addition to the luncheon, the Scott AFB Youth Center participated in a poster design competition about what King’s legacy means. Each class was sponsored by a base organization: the Chiefs Group, the Scott Top 3 Council, and the Scott First Sergeants Council.

The winning posters were displayed at the event center during the luncheon.