Tag: black firefighters

Black Fire Brigade in Chicago Opens Center for City’s Youth, Plans to Provide Mentorship and Training

Chicago’s Black Fire Brigade opens new facility (Photo via twitter.com)

via newsone.com

Chicago’s Black Fire Brigade—a group of the city’s African American firefighters and EMTs—wants to inspire youth to pursue careers in fire science. The group recently opened a new center in Ashburn designed to train the firefighters of tomorrow, ABC Chicago reported.

The brigade pays homage to firefighters and paramedics of color who have lost their lives while serving, the news outlet writes. The group hopes that the legacies of these fallen heroes will live on through youngsters who come to the center and show interest in joining the fire department when they get older. At the center, they will provide mentorship and training to help Black men and women prepare for the firefighter’s exam.

Founder and president of the Black Fire Brigade Quention Curtis says that he hopes the new center will serve as a haven for Chicago’s Black youth and prevent them from getting involved in the streets. “This is about saving these kids’ lives who are dying in the streets every day,” he told the news outlet. “It’s about bringing these firefighters together so we can do that.”

The center was also created as an avenue to overcome racial inequalities that Black firefighters have experienced in the department. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the city has shelled out $92 million in settlements due to the Chicago Fire Department’s discriminatory hiring practices against people of color and women. “There are so few of us, and we’ve been so separated. We’ve never come together as a whole to discuss our issues, how to address them. My thing is to end all that,” said Curtis.

The center will live at 84th and Kedzie. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Saturday.

Source: https://newsone.com/3813064/chicagos-black-fire-brigade-youth-clubhouse/

Regina Wilson Chosen as 1st Female President of 75 Year-Old Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters

FDNY firefighter Regina Wilson has been elected as the first female president of the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters.
FDNY firefighter Regina Wilson has been elected as the first female president of the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters.

For the first time in its 75-year history, the Vulcan Society of Black Firefighters has elected a female president.  Regina Wilson’s new role is the latest achievement for the pioneering firefighter from Brooklyn who joined the FDNY in 1999.  “Being named president of such a wonderful organization is somewhat surreal,” Wilson, 45, told the Daily News on Friday.

A graduate of Tilden High School, Wilson joined the department as only its 12th African-American woman.  It was a job she never imagined holding.

Wilson was working as an accountant at a utility company when she attended a job fair at the Javits Center. It was there that members of the Vulcan Society recruited her to join the FDNY.  “I didn’t even think it was something that I could do,” Wilson said.

She’s now based out of Engine 219 in Park Slope and also works as an instructor at the Fire Academy on Randalls Island.  “It’s a full circle experience for me,” said Wilson, of Crown Heights.

“I have the opportunity to help and to mold and nurture people that are trying to be firefighters.”

Wilson, seen with fellow graduates at Brooklyn College, was the only woman in her class and the 12th African-American woman to join the FDNY when she entered the department in 1999.  (DAVID HANDSCHUH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Wilson, seen with fellow graduates at Brooklyn College, was the only woman in her class and the 12th African-American woman to join the FDNY when she entered the department in 1999. (DAVID HANDSCHUH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

After 16 years in the department, Wilson said she’s finally seeing a concerted push to make it more inclusive.

“With the new administration, I, for the first time, feel hopeful,” Wilson said.

The FDNY, which was successfully sued by the Vulcan Society for discrimination last year, still has a long way to go.

Wilson remains one of only 10 African-African women on a force of more than 10,000 firefighters and officers, according to the Vulcan Society.

Former Vulcan Society President John Coombs hailed Wilson’s election as a historic moment for an organization dedicated to promoting diversity.  “We stand for what we fight for, which is inclusion and diversity in the FDNY,” Coombs said.

article by Rich Schapiro via nydailynews.com

Tara Walker Sworn in as Jersey City’s First Black Woman Firefighter

Jersey City Firefighter Tara Walker (Photo Credit: Reena Rose Sibayan)

Tara Walker, 31, a high school girls basketball legend who scored 2,376 points in her Marist High School career, is now one of six women in the Jersey City Fire Department, and the first black female firefighter in the department’s 143-year history.

The diverse class includes two black men, four Hispanic men and an Asian man, city officials pointed out on Monday.

“Now today is really a great day because if you look at the 26 men and women sitting to my right, to your left, it really represents everything that is great about Jersey City,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said at the ceremony. “It is a diverse class, it is a young class, it is a motivated class, it is a class of people that have dedicated and lived their lives here in Jersey City.”

The new class brings the number of Jersey City firefighters to 557. City officials said that 47 members have been hired since Fulop took office.

RELATED: Bronx Firefighter Danae Mines Becomes 1st Woman Featured In FDNY Calendar of Heroes

“Waited for it since I was a kid,” said Anthony Silleto, 26, after he was sworn in. “It’s great.”

Kevin Ramirez, 28, said he’s excited to become a part of the department and serve Jersey City.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, a great feeling,” he said. “We’ve lived our whole lives here. I’m happy, I’m excited to become a part of it and meet the rest of the family.”

The hiring of the firefighters was made possible by funds from a $6.9 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. The grant is expected to fund up to 49 new firefighters in total.

The 26 firefighters trained for eight weeks at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.

article via forharriet.com and nj.com