Soldier Field Zumba event highlights ‘right moves’
CAMP HUMPHREYS — Approximately 900 people showed up at Soldier Field here April 5 to participate in the “Make the Right Moves” Zumba physical fitness event in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The observance is an annual campaign to raise awareness and educate communities on the prevention of sexual violence.
The Army, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, is observing the 2013 theme of “We own it ... We’ll solve it ... Together.” This theme is designed to strengthen the collective moral and ethical commitment, in keeping with Army Values and Warrior Ethos, to show respect and dignity for every Soldier, Department of the Army civilian, their family members, and the nation that the Army serves.
The event was sponsored by the Camp Humphreys/Area III Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, Better Opportunity for Single Solders and the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
Zumba instructor Kayla Bock, along with Kayla Jordan, Heather Schaefer and Wendy Smith, put those in attendance through a workout usually reserved for people who attend their classes in one of the gyms.
This was the first major event during the month long observance, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ralston Williams, assigned to 194th CSSB and serving as the Area III Sexual Assault Response coordinator. Other events scheduled during April are skits and movies/discussion groups revolving around the observance.
“This event is being held to signify the Area III and surrounding community’s continued effort to stand up and say no more to sexual harassment and assaults,” he said. “Units within Area III, civilian employees and family members, as well as surrounding camps, were invited to show their support for the I A.M. Strong Campaign. The participants were encouraged to wear the color teal, the official color signifying SHARP awareness.
Guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Kristine A. Purnell, the Humphreys Garrison command sergeant major, opened the event by thanking the sponsors and the Zumba team. But, then she emphasized why they were all there.
“On Tuesday, Brig. Gen. (Darryl) Williams and the Deputy to the Garrison Commander (Mark Cox) signed the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation, as did many of the Soldiers that attended the signing,” she said. “The proclamation states that ‘we must’ collectively create a climate that does not tolerate, condone, or ignore sexist behavior, sexual harassment, or sexual assault.”
She went on to say, “the ‘we’ is talking about me and each and every one of you. We must reinforce the importance of bystander intervention to stop unsafe behavior…We must support sexual assault victims…We must have a personal commitment to create an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“We must not allow another one of our sisters or brothers standing in our formations to become a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault.”