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"Keeping The Dream Alive"®

Dr. King’s example remembered at Manchester dinner in his honor


by NICK REID Monitor staff - Jan 19, 2016

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (left) and Wayne Jennings (right), of the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council, look on as Admiral Michelle Howard takes the microphone Monday in Manchester to speak in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.


U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard said she was speaking to a group of elementary school students when one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings – that perception is powerful – was brought home to her in a very personal way.

The then-commander of the USS Rushmore had fielded a couple of easy questions from the students when a young boy stood up and started in with one that appeared tricky.

“ ‘How can you be in command of a ship when you’re – you’re – ’ and he paused and he was searching for words,” Howard recalled. “In that two-second pause, so much went through my mind.”

Howard, 55, in July 2014 became the first woman to earn the rank of four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy.

“I thought, ‘Oh no, is he going to comment on my being a woman?’ ” she continued.

That same promotion, when she became the second most senior officer in the Navy, also made her the first African-American woman to obtain the four-star rank across all the armed services.

“Then I found myself praying, please Lord, do not let him talk about my heritage,” she added.

But the boy had another thing on his mind.

“Then he continued: ‘How can you be in command of a ship? You’re short,’ ” the 5-foot-tall admiral said, peeking over the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council podium while addressing a Manchester crowd convened in honor of King at the Radisson Hotel.

As the keynote speaker of the 14th annual Keeping the Dream Alive dinner, Howard said the boy’s perceptions “validate the dream Dr. King drove into society over half a century ago.”

“At that moment, that young boy did not see me as a woman of color,” she said. “His characterization of me accepted me as a human being with equal claim to lead and inspire, although a short one.”

Howard was flanked by Gov. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Also visiting were Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, and Matan Zamir, deputy consul general of Israel to New England.

Ramsey used his speech to address some of the “hard truths” of his line of work, in a year when violent police interactions with minorities brought up conversations about policing and race.

He said one of the truths is that, for all the good work police have done, they have also protected the status quo at times when it was “brutally unfair to disfavored groups and minorities.”

“Law enforcement can’t forget, because people we serve aren’t going to forget,” he said.

The director of the FBI, James Comey, reminds his agents of one example of this by showing a “stark reminder” of how the bureau interacted with King, Ramsey said.

“On his desk he keeps a copy of the one-page, five-sentence-long application done by former director (J. Edgar) Hoover to wiretap the phones of Dr. King,” Ramsey said. “It goes without saying that that application then, as it would now, should not have passed muster. It would be laughed at today.”

Zamir, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, touched on another current topic when he said his home country has been subject to a wave of terrorist attacks. He said his country, like the U.S., will never stop fighting against terrorism in an effort to achieve peace.

“We are not simply military allies,” he said. “Our friendship is based on the core values, the Martin Luther King values, to fight for freedom, for democracy.”

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325 or or on Twitter @NickBReid.)

January 18. 2016 9:10PM

Admiral honors MLK in Manchester

Navy Admiral Michelle J. Howard, left, and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte stand during a presentation of the colors by re-enactors of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Keeping the Dream Alive Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner in Manchester on Monday. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Putting campaigns for U.S. Senate aside for a night, political opponents Gov. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, shared a stage Monday as guest speakers at the 14th annual “Keeping the Dream Alive” Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

The theme for this year’s dinner was “A Salute to the brave men and women who protect our nation and its citizens.”

Adm. Michelle J. Howard, vice chief of U.S. Naval Operations, served as the keynote speaker for the dinner and was honored as the first female African-American four-star admiral in the 238-year history of the U.S. Navy.

“I am here tonight to help celebrate the life of Dr. King,” Adm. Howard said. “Dr. King had a way of reminding us that perception is powerful. Nothing is so profound as saying that America owes Dr. King a debt of gratitude for helping to foster change in the hearts and minds of the American people.”

The annual dinner is organized and hosted by the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council (NCDAC).

“Dr. King’s powerful words, inspiring actions, and uncommon courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds were, and still are, without parallel,” Sen. Ayotte said. “Most importantly, our nation owes him so much for his commitment and dedication to helping our country make progress in narrowing the gap between the universal principles of our nation’s founding documents and the realities in our country.”

“Inspired by Dr. King’s powerful legacy of equality, inclusion and peace, we have come together today as we do every year at this time to remember Dr. King and recommit ourselves to his vision of continued progress for the people of America and the entire world,” Gov. Hassan said. “In New Hampshire we value human rights, inclusion and equality as core principles, and advancing anti-discrimination efforts is truly a bipartisan cause. Inclusiveness is part of our history.”

The NCDAC paid tribute to men and women who serve in law enforcement and the military, while reinforcing the importance of multicultural awareness. In addition to Adm. Howard, speakers included Matan Zamir, deputy consul general of Israel to New England, who served with distinction as a member of the Israeli Defense Forces and Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division. Steve Aveson, former anchor for New England Cable News served as master of ceremonies.

Ayotte said in the years since Dr. King worked to make his dream a reality, the country has made great strides, “but there’s still much work to do.”

“Over the last year we’ve seen the Confederate flag come down in places like South Carolina and Alabama,” said Ayotte. “But the fact that it took so long speaks to the fact that we still have challenges to overcome as a society. And that’s why it’s so important to keep Dr. King’s dream alive. In his words, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ As we face our challenges together, I hope that we all bear those words in mind, and display just a fraction of the strength and character Dr. King exhibited.”

“Our founding fathers understood that everyone counts, they didn’t count everyone at first, but they had faith that we’d continue striving to build a more perfect union,” said Hassan. “That was the beauty of Dr. King’s message — he understood that by bringing people together and working for the continued progress of our society, we can overcome our past imperfections and build a brighter future, a future where everyone counts, for all of our people.”

While she did not participate as a guest speaker at Monday’s dinner, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen issued a statement honoring Dr. King.

“Today in New Hampshire and across the nation we honor the work and legacy of a truly inspirational national leader.” Shaheen said. “Dr. King’s call for America to live up to its promise as a land free of discrimination and hatred had a profound impact on me and countless others. Dr. King’s ideals are especially relevant today as we defend the tremendous progress that he inspired and continue to move our country forward.”


Manchester School District Announcements

News and announcements for the Manchester School District, SAU 37 in Manchester, NH

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Vice Chief of Naval Operations meets with cadets from West Navy JROTC


Cadets from Manchester High School West Navy JROTC met with the number two officer in all the U.S. Navy, Admiral Michelle Howard, at the 14th annual National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dinner. The cadets participated with the Salem NH Air Force JROTC cadets in a Joint Missing Man ceremony to honor POWs and MIAs. This extraordinary event also invited West High School cadets to act as ushers and the welcoming committee for attendees, including Governor Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Congresswoman Ann Kuster, among other special guests.


Adm. Michelle J. Howard, vice chief of U.S. Naval Operations, served as the keynote speaker.  The theme for this year’s dinner was “A Salute to the Brave Men and Women Who Protect Our Nation and Its Citizens.” The NCDAC paid tribute to men and women who serve in law enforcement and the military, while reinforcing the importance of multicultural awareness.


Cadets participating in the event included Bradley Ewing, Neil Beaupre, Randy Kater, Cyrus Mahir, Tim Joyce, Kaylee Paquette, Justin O’Rourke, Mikayla Valentine, Amman Mahir, and Destiny Lee, who were accompanied by their Senior Naval Science Instructor Captain Arthur W. Stauff, USN (Ret)


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