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Edwards AFB continues Dr. King’s dream

  • Published
  • By Giancarlo Casem
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Team Edwards congregated at Chapel 1 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Jan. 17.


The Edwards AFB Chapel Community and the African-American Heritage Association hosted the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony. MLK Day is observed every year on the third Monday in January in honor of the slain civil rights leader.


The base celebration’s guest speaker was Dr. Maury Jackson, chair of the Pastoral Studies Department and associate professor of Practical Theology for the HMS Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University in Riverside, California.


“He took the lead, he got hit with rocks, he got stabbed by a woman in New York, and he eventually took a bullet,” Jackson said. “King embraced the priestly virtues of compassion that he knew was deep in his religious tradition, and he knew it was deep in religious traditions of others and it was deep in the human experience of the non-religious. And he modeled it and he walked with it.”


In his address, Jackson stated that even though King was not perfect, he stood up, fought and led through a turbulent time.


“He wasn’t the perfect good, he had habits of cigarette smoking, that wasn’t good for his health, he had personal problems with infidelity,” Jackson said. “But when you watch a man who struggles with all of this…and the nation needed that transformative leadership and he provided it. It wore on him personally, it wore on him physically, and it wore on him and his family.”


Jackson also spoke about how King was able to be compassionate during the midst of the Civil Rights Era.


“’I’m not worried about my own life’ he said…and remember, he was deeply compassionate. In the fight against racism, he often said, ‘We have to save our sick white brothers,’” Jackson said.


During the ceremony, Chaplain (Maj.) Jonathan Runnels, the 412th Test Wing deputy wing chaplain, performed an excerpt from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Runnels read aloud the “Let Freedom Ring” portion of the speech with Dr. Linda Bowling and the MLK Choir providing music and background vocals.


To cap the celebration, Col. Kirk Reagan, the 412th Test Wing vice commander, provided his words on Dr. King.


“He had a cause, and he fought for that cause, he studied the works of (Mohandas) Ghandi and believed profusely in non-violent measures,” Reagan said. “One of my favorite quotes from him is, ‘an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.’ There’s a lot we can take away from him, particularly for our military culture and that is resiliency. He was attacked, thrown stones at, stabbed, more importantly his family was threatened, his house was bombed; but he persevered and through his own personally resiliency carried on his fight.”

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.