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Vandenberg to celebrate Cultural Heritage Day

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of Mariachi Lobos play the violin during a live performance at the Cultural Heritage Day here on Aug.10, 2008. Vandenberg's Cultural Heritage Day combined all annual cultural observances into one gala event of food, music, dance and displays. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of Mariachi Lobos play the violin during a live performance at the Cultural Heritage Day here on Aug.10, 2008. Vandenberg's Cultural Heritage Day combined all annual cultural observances into one gala event of food, music, dance and displays. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing's Equal Opportunity Office is scheduled to host the 3rd Annual Cultural Heritage Day at the Pacific Coast Club here Aug. 20.

Cultural Heritage Day is in recognition of America's cultural diversity and the contributions made by the American people.

"The purpose of the event is to educate Airmen, at all levels, about the different cultures and ethnicities that make up today's Air Force," said Tech. Sgt. Gary Sapone, a 30th EO office technician. "The event raises awareness of the unique opportunities afforded to us by our diversity and to recognize the past accomplishments that we have seen strengthened by our diversity."

The theme for this year's event is "Appreciating Our Diverse Air Force Culture." The event will feature varying ethnic performances, food sampling and exhibits showcasing cultural heritage.

The lunch menu will include food from different cultural backgrounds such as Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, Hispanic-American, African-American and European dishes. A vegetarian menu will also be available.

Due to the high level of involvement required to host such a sizable event, the 30th EO office has formed a committee to help with organization.

"Planning for this type of event is challenging at times, but thanks to the Cultural Heritage Committee and their ideas and efforts, the event will be a success," said Master Sgt. Michael Brown, the 30th EO office deputy director. "While the administrative portion has been established, the big planning challenge involves scheduling entertainment. The central coast area has a lot to choose from, but, even though we would love to see a wide variety of cultural entertainment, our time constraints prevent us from being able to schedule everyone."

Members of EO understand the importance cultural awareness.

"Without a doubt, recognition of cultures strengthens the bonds of teamwork and promotes an environment of positive human relations," Sergeant Brown said. "I can't emphasize enough that we want our attendees to walk away educated about a cultural practice, tradition or food that's different from the ones they're accustomed to. Events like Cultural Heritage Day enables members of Vandenberg to get a better understanding of cultures that are different from their own."

Everyone with base access is invited to Vandenberg's free Cultural Heritage Day event.

"One of the misconceptions we hear is that the event is for minorities and women only, but that is not the case," Sergeant Sapone said. "The event is an educational opportunity for everyone to learn about cultures and ethnicities other than their own."

The 30th EO office is seeking volunteers for the Cultural Heritage Day committee. The committee is also in need of a chairperson. If interested, call 606-0370 or 606-8780.