We Belong: A Day of Resilience and Inclusivity

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madison Collier
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

In an ongoing commitment to support the Department of Defense’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan, Goodfellow Air Force Base hosted its annual DEIA Day, October 20. 

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: We Belong event offered permanent party and technical training students the opportunity to come together, break down stereotypes and celebrate the strengths found in our differences. Through a culture of innovative agility, innovation and acceptance, DEIA programs enhance the readiness of the DoD workforce by optimizing the diverse talents of individuals across the armed forces. 

U.S. Air Force Col. Angelina Maguinness spoke on the shared commitment all service members take when entering the armed forces and how our duty, above all else, unites us all. 

Service members were given the opportunity to participate in multiple activities. A team challenge course was curated to encourage participants to understand better the various personality types they could find within their unit. Participants took a generalized personality test before being put into either a control group, encouraging them to utilize their shared traits to achieve their goals; or a diverse group, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and adaptability. 

Another popular activity was a car smash where volunteers had the opportunity to spray paint words associated with hate and stereotypes. Participants geared up, grabbed a sledgehammer and let their frustrations out. This act represented the destruction of harmful stereotypes and the rejection of hateful words. It served as a reminder of the importance of standing up against discrimination and intolerance. 

The scavenger hunt activity highlighted local and on-base organizations by encouraging students and permanent party attendees to learn more about their missions and how they support San Angelo or Goodfellow Air Force Base. These organizations provided information on how non-members can support them or join their cause. 

DEIA Day highlighted the significance of recognizing and embracing the diverse range of personalities and backgrounds within the military. It also emphasized the need to confront stereotypes and hateful words head-on, promoting a culture of respect, empathy and resilience. 

“The event emphasized recognizing and celebrating each other's unique qualities and what we can bring to the table while continuing to build off each other's core values,” said Emily Velazquez, 17th Training Wing integrated prevention coordinator. 

By breaking down stereotypes and fostering unity, service members can build a more resilient and unified workforce, better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future.