Sen. Ossoff, Reps. Williams & McBath Honor Black Aviation Professionals

Resolution honors Black aviation professionals during Black History Month

Washington, D.C. — Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff and Representatives Nikema Williams (D-GA-05) and Lucy McBath (D-GA-06) are honoring the contributions and achievements of Black aviation professionals.

Today they introduced a bicameral Congressional resolution honoring past and current Black aviation professionals who blazed the path forward and made significant contributions to aerospace and the aviation industry.

The resolution will commemorate February 16 as “International Black Aviation Professionals Day.”

Georgia is home to thousands of Black aviation professionals and leaders, from flight attendants to pilots and scientists. Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and employs over 55,000 people.

“I’m teaming up with Reps. Williams and McBath to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Americans to aviation and aerospace,”Sen. Ossoff said.

“Because of the accomplishments of Black Georgians in aviation, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest and most efficient airport. It is well past time to recognize Black pioneers in the industry and the continued contributions of Black aviation professionals with a dedicated day of recognition during Black History Month,”Rep. Williams said.

“As a former flight attendant, I am so proud to join Sen. Ossoff and Rep. Williams to commemorate the achievements of the Black pioneers who made their mark throughout the history of American aviation,” said Rep. McBath.

The resolution honors pioneers like Emory C. Malick, the first Black pilot; Eleanor Williams, the first Black woman air traffic controller; and Black scientists like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, and Charles W. Chappelle, who was born in Eatonton and grew up in Atlanta and helped revolutionize air space travel.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Casey Grant and our Congressional representatives to honor aviation pioneers and encourage Black talent to seek out careers in aviation,” Keyra Lynn Johnson, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Delta Air Lines said. “To build a more diverse and representative workforce, the story of our past has a significant role to play in understanding how we shape a more equitable future.”

“ALPA believes we can—and must—do more as a nation to open the doors of opportunity for those currently underrepresented in the piloting profession while maintaining the highest safety standards in the world. We applaud Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Williams, and members of the Georgia delegation for their leadership in helping to diversify the profession and close the diversity gap that currently exists,” said Captain Joe DePete, President of the Air Line Pilots Association. “ALPA has a long history of reaching out to aspiring aviators and we are proud to partner on all efforts that help recruit the next generation of pilots, as well as cultivate a supportive and inclusive workplace.”

Casey Grant, the originator of International Black Aviation Professionals Day and a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant said, “Introducing a Congressional resolution to honor International Black Aviation Professionals Day is the realization of a dream to acknowledge Black aviation pioneers and inspire a new generation of Black aviators to take to the skies. Black flight attendants, pilots, astronauts, air traffic controllers, and so many more have and continue to fight for civil rights in the skies. It’s past time we acknowledge their service and provide opportunities for more Black Americans to enter these amazing and fulfilling careers. I’m so thankful to Senator Ossoff and Representatives Nikema Williams, my fellow ‘sister in the sky’ Lucy McBath, and members of the Georgia delegation for their tremendous work toward introducing a resolution to designate this day.”

“Cheers to establishing International Black Aviation Professional Day and recognizing the contributions of Black Americans to aviation,” said Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “Decades after trailblazers like Ruth Carol Taylor and Willa Brown made history in aviation, Black workers still face barriers to entry and discrimination on the job. Today is about breaking barriers and lifting the strength of an inclusive workplace. As we celebrate the past and present of Black aviation, we also recommit ourselves to the work of addressing bias and obliterating discrimination so our industry and our unions can live up to our nation’s highest ideals.”

Click here to read the Senate resolution.

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