HomeNewsArticle Display

Display

‘Walk for Unity’ brings Team Kadena together, builds understanding

Chief Master Sergeant Tracie Duvall, 18th Mission Support Group command chief, speaks to participants before the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Chief Master Sergeant Tracie Duvall, 18th Mission Support Group command chief, speaks to participants before the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Team Kadena members take a moment of silence before the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Team Kadena members take a moment of silence before the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Service members, civilians, contractors and families participate in the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Service members, civilians, contractors and families participate in the Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Service members, civilians, contractors and families participate in Team Kadena Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

Service members, civilians, contractors and families participate in Team Kadena Walk for Unity 5K at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2020. The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daryn Murphy)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

The 18th Wing hosted a 5K “Walk for Unity” on Kadena Air Base, June 20, 2020.

The event signified Team Kadena’s commitment to bringing the community together and resolving racial divides and inequalities in our nation and Air Force.

The 5K was open to all members on base and allowed civilians, contractors, families, and service members to show their support and appreciation for one another no matter color or creed.

The walk began at the Schilling Center with words of encouragement and inclusiveness from base leadership.

“Today is a great opportunity to come together in unity as we provide this platform, this space, to have open dialogue and open conversations about racial inequalities, racial divides and other human relations issues that we need a space to be together in unity,” said Chief Master Sergeant Tracie Duvall, 18th Mission Support Group command chief.

The peaceful event allowed members of the community to connect and to learn about the history, grief, and pain over racial divides and inequality that people may still experience.

“This is a Team Kadena effort and this is part of a Team Kadena conversation,” said Brig. Gen. Joel Carey, 18th Wing commander. “It’s going to be part of an ongoing conversation and an effort as we move forward. As Chief Duvall and Chief Bender mentioned, thank you so much for your leadership. There is a lot of pain, a lot of hurt, a lot of justified anger that we have in our community and in our nation. I am so proud about is this team of service men and women and your family members. This is yet another way you’re serving, and you’re doing it in a beneficial way, you’re doing it in a way that builds our community. You’re doing it in a way that loves on one another in a selfless way. I’m incredibly proud to be part of this.”

Carey continued by discussing how he has charged base leadership to make sure they’re listening before they speak and to make sure they are putting in the effort to really listen and learn from the stories.

“Based on the color of our skin, the neighborhoods we grew up in, the different socioeconomic backgrounds we had, there are certain things that if you haven’t experienced them personally, then there is just a blind spot you are going to have,” continued Carey. “It’s a fact that we all have them, but if we start off with a conversation and listening, developing an understanding, educating ourselves, and moving forward in unity we have proven time and time again that this Air Force and this community can do amazing things. Thank you all very much.”

In addition to open dialogue, the event also featured booths manned by members of the community who led conversations between participants about issues such as racial prejudice, discrimination, bias and systematic discrimination as acknowledged by top Air Force leaders.

“Discussing our different life experiences and viewpoints can be tough, uncomfortable and therefore often avoided,” stated Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General David Goldfein, in a letter to commanders, “But we have been presented a crisis. We can no longer walk by this problem.”

As many leaders have expressed, all members need to know without a doubt that their military family stands with them.

“I don’t have the answers, but I do know there is no room for bigotry, hatred or small mindedness in our force. Period,” Goldfein continued, “Every member of our team needs to know we have their back.”