American Airlines is celebrating Black History Month with numerous events and initiatives throughout February, including showcasing African-American aviation pioneers.
On Saturday, February 18, the African American Diversity Network Employee Business Resource Group (AADN) will host Hidden Figures in Aviation, Celebrating 111 Years of Blacks in Aviation at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The event features Brenda Robinson, the first African-American female pilot for both the United States Navy and American Airlines; former NASA aerospace engineer Wesley Ratcliff; and Joylette Hylick, daughter of Katherine Johnson, former NASA mathematician and the subject of the recently released feature film Hidden Figures. Together, the three will discuss their experiences, which helped pave the way for African-Americans in the aviation industry.
“We place a high priority on our inclusion and diversity initiatives, which positively impact our more than 100,000 team members, our customers and the many communities we serve,” said Danielle Kirgan, American’s senior vice president – People. “We believe increasing the awareness of these historical milestones is an important step in furthering our own internal diversity efforts.”
American is proud to bring attention to and support the preservation of important African-American educators, musicians, politicians, scientists and more through The History Makers project. For the past 18 years, the project has worked to honor the histories of more than 4,000 African-Americans. These works are now housed in the Library of Congress, providing future generations a first-hand look into the lives of many who have helped shape our nation.
The February issue of American Way, American’s award-winning in-flight magazine, will include an “In Their Own Words” story featuring flight service training manager Onna Williams. The article highlights her experience at the first high school built for African American students west of the Mississippi River.
Additionally, AADN will host a series of employee events in February to include hosting a Black Business Expo at American’s headquarters, visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, recognizing contributions of African-Americans in science, space and aviation, in addition to various events celebrating African-American culture and business.
American has been recognized for its diversity efforts, including being named in the 2014 Black EOE Journal’s Best of the Best for Top Diversity Employers, Top Supplier Diversity Programs and Top LGBT Employers. Additionally, the airline’s Diversity Advisory Council was named one of the top 10 councils in the nation by the Association of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) & Councils. American has also received the highest possible rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the 15th consecutive year.
For more information on Hidden Figures in Aviation, Celebrating 111 Years of Blacks in Aviation visit the Eventbrite registration page. Space is limited; those interested in attending the event must register in order to participate.