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Buckley Garrison talks racial inequities

Col. Devin Pepper, 460th Space Wing commander, offers opening remarks, Sept. 26, 2019, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

Col. Devin Pepper, 460th Space Wing commander, offers opening remarks, Sept. 26, 2019, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Diversity Day provided an opportunity to explore and celebrate the accomplishments and cultures of a diverse military force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael D. Mathews)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Buckley Garrison held their second Resiliency Tactical Pause day about diversity and inclusion Aug. 7, 2020, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

For the second time in two months, Buckley Garrison has held an RTP to continue the discussion of racial inequities that occurs not only within the Armed Forces, but historically in the U.S.

“This is amongst my highest priority here at Buckley,” said Colonel Devin Pepper, Buckley Garrison commander. “It’s too important of a conversation not to have. For some, this conversation can be hard and uncomfortable, but we must have the conversation and often so people can become comfortable talking about race. We must continue to strive to be better and to do better. We owe it to everyone we work with to accomplish the vital missions here at Buckley and across the Air and Space Force.”

The RTP began with Colonel Pepper, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Devall, Buckley Garrison command chief, and Senior Master Sgt. Brandon Holliman, Buckley Garrison Equal Opportunities director, kicking off the discussion and expectations for the Garrison during a morning Zoom meeting. Afterwards, facilitators throughout the Garrison held small group discussions that allowed for open dialogue among their units.

“I think it is important that we have these discussions because these issues come up a lot in the military,” said 1st Lt. Heather McCray, a Buckley Garrison RTP facilitator. “Small group discussions really allow people to speak their minds about some tangible solutions.”

These conversations were centered on a wide range of topics like asking about personal experiences with racism, identifying any shortcomings with procedures, providing possible solutions for any current procedures, and describing personal opinions and experiences to help better understand each other.

“It’s good that commanders are taking such an interest in solutions, but the discussions are the biggest thing in influencing the individual's mindset,” said McCray.

Not only are small group conversations effective, but listening to some of our leaders across the force talk about their experiences can also help us understand some of the issues regarding racial discrimination.

“This is something we have to get after and continue to get after,” said Col. Pepper. “We can’t allow this moment to pass without making real change in the military and American society. No one is perfect when it comes to this topic. However we can all commit to listening more, talking less and trying to understand one another’s perspectives and what we each bring to the fight.”

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