More than 300 veterans gathered on Monday at the California African American Museum to participate at the first Black Veterans Summit co-hosted by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County.
California is home to more than 1.8 million veterans, roughly one third of which identify themselves as minority veterans.
“We have known for quite some time that veterans and in particular minority veterans often do not apply for and receive the benefits they have earned,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “With this summit we hope to address that issue and at least some of the challenges veterans face as they transition back to civilian life.”
Attendees from various ethnic groups listened to impassioned presentations by the Honorable Will A. Gunn, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and California State Parks Director Anthony L. Jackson, Major General (USMC Ret).
In addition, panelists held frank and open discussions with participants on employment, health care, education and housing issues relevant to today’s veterans.
“Special thanks to the Blue Ribbon Committee, the California African American Museum, our speakers and panelists and to all the veterans who took time out of their day to be here,” said Gravett.
Gravett also encouraged all veterans to connect to the benefits and services they have earned through their military service by logging onto the CalVet Web site at www.calvet.ca.gov and the USDVA’s Web site at www.va.gov .