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171st Hosts 31st Annual African-American Heritage Luncheon

Coraopolis, PA -- The 171st Air Refueling Wing hosted its 31st annual African-American Heritage Luncheon, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott here. The event allowed the 171st ARW to celebrate its diversity, along with the local community, during African-American History Month.

Attendees, including faculty and students from local high schools, members of the 171st ARW and distinguished guests, joined together to celebrate this year's theme, "Civil Rights in America."

The event began with the presentation of colors, presented by a combined Honor Guard that included members of the 171st ARW Base Honor Guard and JROTC cadets from local high schools. The national anthem was performed by Cadet Seasons Taylor of the West Mifflin High School JROTC.

Jacquet Bazemore, Executive Director of Five Star Corporation, a former Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion and sparring partner to Muhammad Ali, served as the guest speaker this year. Bazemore spoke words of encouragement to the youth in the room about overcoming challenges and making a better future for themselves and others.

"We are stronger together than we are apart. Make no mistake about it. We all have a purpose in this life. To work together, to pray together, to help to build this nation together," Bazemore said.

"The luncheon is an opportunity for the 171st Air Refueling Wing to share a long-standing tradition of celebrating diversity by recognizing the contributions of African-Americans in our country," stated Captain Darren Rogers, one of the event's coordinators.

The entertainment included musical performances by the George Westinghouse High School Marching Band and singers Quinton Monteiro and Stacia Abbott.

Past guest speakers have included Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, WPXI news anchor Vince Sims, and Ms. Karolyn Young, Principal Director of Space Launch Engineering and Acquisition, Space Systems Group at the Aerospace Corporation.