ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
So often in societies, differences divide people.
At Robins, however, cultural differences have given a group known as the Diversity Council reason to celebrate.
Master Sgt. Julian Colunga, Team Robins Diversity Council president, said the council is Robins’ primary body responsible for planning, budgeting and executing events recognizing all cultural and national observances throughout the year.
“The council also works with the Equal Opportunity Office and Special Emphasis Program managers to ensure base-wide exposure for observance functions and events,” he said. “National Observances include: National African American/Black History, Women’s History, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, LGBT Pride, Hispanic Heritage and American Indian Heritage.”
For more than a decade, Robins’ Diversity Council of active duty military, Reserve, and Air National Guard, retirees, and civilians representing all ethnicities and backgrounds has hosted events to help people learn about each other’s heritage.
Subcommittees are organized throughout the year to recognize National African American/Black History (Feb. 1 through 28 ), Women’s History (March 1 through 31 ), Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (May 1 through 31 ), LGBT Pride June 1 through 30 ), Hispanic Heritage (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15), and American Indian Heritage (Nov. 1 through 30).
“The council exist to support the Defense Department and Air Forces Diversity and Inclusion Initiative,” Colunga said. “Additionally, the council supports the 78th Air Base Wing and installation commander’s diversity program by operating as a centralized diversity “hub” for observance events; which in turn educates the local populace and reduces misunderstanding and encourages positive interaction.”
Colunga, who serves as the 461st Maintenance Group’s Maintenance Operations Flight chief in his day-to-day job, said the Diversity Council enhances mission readiness, creating positive human relations throughout Robins.
“Efforts maximize organizational cohesion and maintain the highest degree of mission readiness while maintaining the DOD reputation as a place where all individuals have infinite dignity and worth,” he said.
The Diversity Council, its committees and observance events are open to everyone. Members can lead committees and participate in observance events regardless of gender or ethnic background.
“For example, a male Hispanic member can lead the Women’s History committee and an African American can lead the Native American Heritage Committee,” Colunga said. “Operating in this fashion further supports the “all inclusive” nature of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.”
To date in 2017, the council has organized 12 observance events and is in the planning phase for at least four more.
To learn more about the council, attend a meeting held the first Tuesday of each month in the Heritage Ballroom, from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit the council’s SharePoint site: https://cs2.eis.af.mil/sites/21030/diversity/default.aspx