Royal Air Force High Wycombe plays host to MOD Race Networks Black History Month’s 2019 Launch Event.

On 3 October, the MOD Race Network brought the Black History Month Launch Event to the home of Air Command for the first time. Opened by the Chief of the Air Staff and the MOD’s Race Champion, Director General Finance, Cat Little, the event brought Black History to the forefront of the Ministry of Defence, welcoming speakers and guests from across the whole force.

An annual event, previously hosted at other Defence locations was this year brought to the home of Royal Air Force, highlighting Black History’s importance to the Royal Air Force of today and what we strive to be in the future. The Chief of the Air Staff said: ‘Throughout our history it is natural talent and potential that has mattered much, much more than where somebody came from or what they looked like’.

2019’s launch event focused its attention on migration, honouring the past and driving progression to the future. Highlighting the Windrush generation and their contribution to British economic, social and cultural life, as well as the multitude of personnel who drove the way for diversity and progression in the military. An inspirational real-life account from the Army Bame Network’s Lt Col Sulle, made for humbling listening, speaking of his experiences as a young black man in the 1980s/90s, overcoming adversity, social mobility and bullying. Lt Col Sulle added: ‘Knowing our history is how we understand the world’.

The events Keynote speaker, Nicola Williams, the Service Complaints Ombudsman and Chief of Defence People, Lt Gen Richard Nugee took the audience through the afternoon, discussing the importance of the diversity of thoughts and perspectives, emphasising why we need to attract from all corners of society. Nicola Williams said: ‘Our future force needs to protect and reflect the society that we defend’.

Hailed a success, the event explored black history and the impact it has today, while still highlighting the amount of progression that is still needed. Cat Little said: ‘We need to be constantly challenging our ambitions, this is a wonderful foundation to build our future on’.

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