On Friday February 26, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees from the El Paso Field Office, El Paso Border Patrol Sector, Office of Air and Marine, CBP Canine Program and other CBP components gathered for a local observance of “National Black History Month”.
During the celebration, CBP recognized the contributions of African Americans to the United States and celebrated the group’s heritage and culture.
The observance featured Paul Cross, Assistant Chief at the El Paso Sheriff’s Office, as the guest speaker. Assistant Chief Cross, who is a law enforcement officer of over 24 years, spoke of the need for diversity at the highest levels of any law enforcement agency. Assistant Chief Cross mentioned that a law enforcement agency with diverse leaders results in a better-engaged police force. He indicated a police force could better serve the people in the community when its leaders have an understanding about that community’s diversity, values and experiences.
During the observance, CBP employees were entertained with an interpretive dance by Joy Bertley, from the Victory Warriors Parent Academy. CBP personnel enjoyed a cultural food sampling during the observance at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, located on Ft. Bliss, Texas.
The El Paso “Diversity and Inclusion Program Committee” hosted this year’s observance of National Black History Month. Michael Benjamin, a Border Patrol Agent at El Paso Station, served as the Master of Ceremony. Willie Campbell, a CBP Officer at the El Paso Port of Entry, sang the National Anthem, while Border Patrol Agent John R. Gillette provided the invocation. Opening remarks were provided by Todd S. Gayle, a Supervisory Air Interdiction Agent from the El Paso Air Branch of Air and Marine Operations. Jeffrey D. Self, Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector, gave the closing remarks. Hector A. Mancha, the CBP Director of Field Operations, and Chief Self were on hand to recognize the participants.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.