“Remember. Celebrate. Act. A Day On, Not A Day Off” the Theme of NAWCAD Patuxent River Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Event

February 3, 2023

HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.: On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the virtual event, “Remember. Celebrate. Act. A Day On, Not A Day Off,” took place in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.

“Today, we honor Dr. King, remembering the strength of his leadership, the power of his words, and the inspiration of his call for justice. We celebrate his legacy of freedom and equality for all,” said guest speaker Danté Eubanks. “As we speak the words remember, celebrate and act, we must align ourselves and identify with action as these words are providing clear direction.”

Eubanks has been the MQ-25 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Readiness/Sustainment Integrated Product Team lead in PMA-268 since December 2021. He has worked at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) since October 2001 in various program management positions, serving as H-52 avionics co-lead, subsonic subscale aerial targets IPT lead and F/A-18 and EA-18G acquisition team lead, among others.

He is a six-year U.S. Navy Veteran, serving as an aircraft electrician from 1995 to 2001. He joined NAVAIR after completing his military service. He is also active in ministry, an avid genealogist and a local historian.

He discussed the history of Martin Luther King Jr., the third Monday in January and the only federal holiday that is also designated by Congress as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”

“It has also become a respected day of remembrance, celebration, and action,” he said. “As a young man, I was taught service to others and giving of my time and talents was honorable, but more importantly a charge passed down from the ancestors through generations.”

Eubanks urged attendees to continue the work of Dr. King and challenge the issues facing Black Americans, as well as the whole nation.

“Dr. King did not just work in his neighborhood for change or just in his family or even within his own state,” he said. “Instead, Dr. King challenged himself, his family, his community, his church and all of mankind to stand up and do better.

“I believe Dr. King remembered the past struggles of his parents, grandparents and his very own accounts of racism as a young man which prompted him to change his own outlook on race, ethnicity, community and family, and launched him forward to take action beginning with self and inviting others to become a part of ushering in a revolution,” Eubanks continued.

In his introduction, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Executive Director Stephen E. Cricchi, also spoke about King’s fight for equality.

“Today we honor Dr. King, a man whose life’s work set this country on a path for greater inclusivity,” he said. “He fought for a better America. One where individuals are judged on their character and not the color of their skin or socioeconomic status.”

In his presentation, Eubanks touched upon the famous words King gave on the National Mall during the March on Washington in 1963, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, and what those words meant to him.

“As a 48 year-old man, son, husband, father and grandfather, I too have a dream,” he said. “We all should have a dream for ourselves, our family, our community and our nation. We ought to take our dream and formulate a plan to see our dreams come to fruition.”

He concluded his remarks by challenging the audience to “seize every opportunity to work toward equality for all.”

“Let us remember it is not just MLK day, but every day is an opportunity to be of service wherever you are,” he said. “As we honor and commemorate Dr. King this January 2023, let us remember, celebrate and act, for it is indeed a day on, not a day off.”

The event was presented by the Patuxent River African American Pipeline Action Team (APAT) and the NAWCAD Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office and Inclusive Diversity Division.

Command Operations Deputy Director Adrienne Somerville concluded the event and urged attendees to pay it forward through mentorship programs and by joining a Diversity Action Team (DAT) such as APAT.

“DATs are a great way to stay connected across the enterprise,” she said. “A great opportunity to get involved in our communities. These teams provide learning opportunities for everyone and celebrate customs and traditions. Dr. King believed in freedom for all. Across NAVAIR, we strive to protect those same liberties and freedoms.”