Team Beale hosts LGBT color run

Master Sgt. Daniel, from the 548th Operations Support Squadron, gets doused with colored powder while finishing the annual 5K color run at Beale Air Force Base, June 24, 2016. This year Beale was able to celebrate the LGBT community as DoD has officially made June LGBT Pride Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

Master Sgt. Daniel, from the 548th Operations Support Squadron, gets doused with colored powder while finishing the annual 5K color run at Beale Air Force Base, June 24, 2016. This year Beale was able to celebrate the LGBT community as DoD has officially made June LGBT Pride Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

Tech Sgt. Randy, from the 9th Intelligence Squadron, throws colored powder at runners during the start of the 5K color run at Beale Air Force Base, June 24, 2016. This year Beale was able to celebrate the LGBT community as DoD has officially made June LGBT Pride Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

Tech Sgt. Randy, from the 9th Intelligence Squadron, throws colored powder at runners during the start of the 5K color run at Beale Air Force Base, June 24, 2016. This year Beale was able to celebrate the LGBT community as DoD has officially made June LGBT Pride Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --

Team Beale hosted a 5K color run, recognizing June as the official Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Pride Month here, on June 24, 2016. 

President Barack Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month on May 30, 2016, and the Department of Defense is highlighting the importance of the achievements and sacrifices of LGBT service members and civilians. 

“Now that the LGBT community is recognized in June, I believe it confirms the Air Force recognizes the LGBT community’s struggle and supports their constitutional rights,” said Tech. Sgt. Victor.

Although this isn’t the first color run hosted at Beale, it’s the first LGBT color run Beale has held in accordance with DoD policy. The LGBT Pride Month 5K color run was tasked to the Beale Rising 6 organization.

“As President of the Rising 6, my role is to ensure we lead successful events in the effort of promoting the LGBT community's contributions to the DoD,” said Tech. Sgt. Victor.

In total, 85 Team Beale members attended the 5K color run, including Air Force veteran Brian Day, LGBT community guest speaker.

“The military is such a diverse community, we have to accept each other for who they are,” Day said. “What’s important is that we have each other and that (the LGBT community) can serve openly now.”

The color run consisted of colored corn starch and Team Beale side-by-side in celebration of supporting an inclusive community. The tradition of throwing colored powder can be traced back to India’s Festival of Colors also known as Holi.

“Every once in a while you have to share who you are and what you care about, and this was a great opportunity to demonstrate both,” said Staff Sgt. James Thomas, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron security manager. “It took me 10 years to go to my first pride event, and there was a sense of community that I had not experienced before. The Air Force has helped me feel accepted with a family other than my own.”

To show their support, the Rising 6 raised $300 in donations for the Davis Phoenix Coalition organization, which works to prevent hate, intolerance, and bullying.

“In my opinion, this event goes far beyond a color run. It’s a public statement,” said Tech Sgt. Victor. “It’s visually closing the chapter of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and opening a new one of acceptance.”