WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) celebrated Black excellence in the field of aviation on International Black Aviation Professionals Day. Black aviators–including pilots, air traffic controllers, skycaps, flight attendants, ground crew members, and more–have been and continue to be instrumental to the success of the aviation industry, overcoming often insurmountable odds.
Congresswoman Williams will also lead members of the Georgia delegation to introduce a resolution to designate February 16th as International Black Aviation Professionals Day. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
Congresswoman Williams, who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, 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.”
Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06) 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.
Senator Ossoff said:
“I’m teaming up with Reps. Williams and McBath to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Americans to aviation and aerospace.”
Casey Grant, the originator of International Black Aviation Professionals Day 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 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.”
Eboni Wimbush, President & CEO of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) said:
“I applaud Representative Nikema Williams leadership to recognize the significant contributions of Black Americans to flight, space exploration, and the aviation industry as a whole despite significant adversity. Because of their contributions and this recognition of black excellence, AMAC was created and continues the work to advance the full participation of minorities and women in employment and contracting opportunities throughout the aviation and aerospace industries.”
Captain Joe DePete, President of the Air Line Pilots Association said:
“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 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. 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.”
Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said:
“Cheers to establishing International Black Aviation Professional Day and recognizing the contributions of Black Americans to aviation. 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.”
Keyra Lynn Johnson, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Delta Air Lines said:
“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. 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.”
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.