MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego celebrated Multicultural Heritage Day at the Command Museum courtyard Sept. 15.
The annual event showcased 22 different cultures from around the world with information booths and performances to help service members and their families better understand the diversity that is found throughout the Marine Corps.
This is one of eight observances used to help promote equal opportunity and awareness throughout the year.
“We want (Marines and their families) to understand and not be afraid to talk about cultures,” said Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Walker, MCRD equal opportunity advisor. “It can form greater bonds to know more about each other.”
The four-hour event featured a stage where performers showcased various cultural traditions. Some of the performances included hula dancers, a mariachi band and singers. One highlight included a re-enactment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The performances were given by Marines and civilians who wanted to share their culture’s traditions.
“We say we are a Marine Corps culture, but we don’t want to forget where we come from,” said Walker. “When we host these events, we want the Marines to come out and represent their own cultures.”
The event offered Marines the opportunity to share their culture with attendees by setting up informational booths or performing on stage. By doing so, some of them learned new and interesting things about their heritage.
Wearing a Marine Corps uniform from 1967, Cpl. Janeisha Taylor, new joins clerk, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, sang “Amazing Grace.” She also helped set up a display featuring pictures and stories about black Marines and their accomplishments throughout the Corps’ history.
“Every day is culture in the Marine Corps,” said Taylor, a Chicago native. “I learned a lot about my own culture by doing this event. It’s not just about military cultures, it’s about the world.”
In addition to performances, 17 booths were set up in the courtyard to showcase the progress some cultures have made in the Marine Corps and volunteer opportunities for service members looking to help others.
“This event is here to remind us that we are a very multi-cultural (country). We are all unique and have something to contribute to our mainstream culture,” said Maj. Alberto Martinezdiaz, deputy comptroller, 12th Marine Corps Recruiting District.
The Marine Corps represents the diversity found in America on a smaller scale, explained Walker. In order to truly understand one another, we need to accept the differences among us, he added.
“We don’t need to be divided. We need to embrace the melting pot and share our cultures,” said Walker.
The event was held on visitor’s Thursday, the day families and friends get to visit their new Marines before they graduate recruit training, so young Marines and their families had the opportunity to attend.
It’s important for them to understand the different cultures they may encounter during their time in the Marine Corps, explained Walker.
“The Marine Corps has its own culture,” said Taylor. “We are a family, but we don’t know enough about each other. You probably have a lot of things in common and don’t even realize it.”