The 75th Air Base Wing held a ceremony in conjunction with the Hill Air Force Base Equal Opportunity Office and the Black Heritage Committee to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 14 at Club Hill. The event's guest speaker was Ludmya Love, Utah's first black female mayor who presides over Saratoga Springs.
When introducing Love to the podium, Denise Elbert, of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, said Love is "like us here at Team Hill," as she values her country, her health and proclaims, "I am a servant leader."
"She is in good company today, because we too are servant leaders," said Elbert.
Love was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Haiti approximately seven years after King's assassination.
Noting the violence and opposition which King faced while spreading his message of peace and equality, Love said, "it is difficult to imagine that it was just 45 years ago that Americans treated each other with such brutality. It is difficult for me to imagine, because when I was born in 1975, I opened my eyes to a different world," due to King's efforts.
The world in which Love grew up was one which she reflects upon as ripe with opportunity for her immigrant parents to gain American citizenship, buy a house on the favorable side of her hometown, and send her and her siblings through college.
"I never, in those times, remember SClBexperiencing any racial difficulty. If I did, I never questioned my rights. I never questioned whether or not I had the right to sit next to a child or my right to drink from the same water fountain ... I have never been beaten down. I have never been faced by snarling dogs. I have never had a burning cross in my yard. I was never brutalized for what I believe, and that is because of the people who have worked really hard to pave the way for us ... We will continue to build that foundation."
Love noted there are people continuing the fight for justice today and she also thanked the military for fighting to preserve the rights of those who worked hard to obtain them. She also noted that "there is still work to do today; but my eyes are open to a different world."
That world, Love said, is one that comes to the aid of her parents' native country that recently experienced a natural disaster beyond its own government's ability to support.
"I opened my eyes today to the reality and hope for an even brighter future than today," she said.
In his closing remarks, OO-ALC Executive Director Mark Johnson said, "As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, we are reminded that there is a power in all of us to make a difference in the world. Dr. King showed us how all people from all backgrounds can come together to improve the lives of others, bridge social barriers and to really build community within our nation ... We can only achieve (King's) dream by working together daily to find that hope and foster that hope for a better tomorrow."