Jasmine Cox, a sophomore at Albany High School, recites her poem “Free” at a Black History Month program aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany on Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)
MCLB-ALBANY — After the efforts put in to make the world what it is now, it is an injustice for a person to deny the world of what they can contribute.
That was the main take-away from a luncheon hosted by the Albany area chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) and Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to celebrate Black History Month at the base’s Town and Country Restaurant Grand Ballroom on Tuesday.
The theme for this event was “Civil Rights in America,” with the keynote speaker for the program being retired educator and community service advocate Geraldine West Hudley.
“We need your gifts,” she said. “When we run out the door, we need to serve somewhere. Your life is not your own, so don’t claim that it is. (When you do something) it impacts those around you … so in the work place, let you light shine (for others to follow).
“… Let your light shine. Don’t stay in the house where nobody can see it.”
While encouraging the audience to take care of themselves, she also stressed the importance of helping others.
“Turn off the TV next week for two or three days, and then decide to do something good in those two or three days,” she said.
Hudley, the principal at Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts before her retirement in 2010, has been active with the Albany Civil Rights Institute, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, among other organizations. A native to the Albany area, she served 27 years as a teacher at Dougherty Comprehensive High School before her time as principal at Radium Springs. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at Albany State University.
All of those years of experience working with children helped her to circle back to her main point and bring it home.
“I love working with children because they are the best of us, and they need us,” Hudley said. ” … We’ve got to do better by letting your little light shine, and you are duty-bound to make it better.
” … You have to do more to make sure you are doing it right.”
The program also included performances from the Freedom Singers, a poem reading by Albany High School sophomore Jasmine Cox and some words from representatives from BIG, Marine Corps Logistics Base and Marine Corps Logistics Command (LOGCOM).
Among them was Staff Sgt. Juana Snell, equal opportunity advisor for LOGCOM.
“Black History Month (brings with it) many traditions,” Snell said. “The one I find most exciting is the tradition of excellence … We have the power to win.”