AFA Celebrates Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

February 1, 2023 — AFA is proud to celebrate Black History Month in February, an annual national observance that highlights the power and impact of the Black community.

On February 11, 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor worked her first flight at Mohawk Airlines. She was the first African-American Flight Attendant in the U.S. Only six months after breaking one historic barrier, Taylor's career ended due to another discriminatory policy: the airline's marriage ban, a common practice among airlines of the day of dismissing Flight Attendants who became either married or pregnant. Watch AFA's tribute to Ruth Carol Taylor.

Last year, our union elected the most diverse international officer team in our history with Vice President Keturah Johnson and Secretary-Treasurer Dante Harris joining President Sara Nelson.

While we celebrate the contributions of trailblazers, this month is not just a time to highlight history—we must take on racism, poverty and inequality today to make lasting change. That starts in our union, in our industry and our country.

Racial justice and economic justice are interlocked—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and pioneers of the Civil Rights movement stood shoulder to shoulder with Labor leaders like A. Philip Randolph, Al Shanker and the Reuther brothers, understanding that economic freedom is key to self-determination.

In 2020, the murder of George Floyd propelled our country into the streets to demand change and declare again that #BlackLivesMatter. Police brutality is still all too common for Black Americans like Tyre Nichols in Memphis – who was brutally attacked by 5 or more officers and subsequently died.

Our union is committed to building an inclusive, anti-racist workplace where every member can feel safe, welcomed and respected. And as we do this, we build power together to make a difference in our work lives and home lives. 

Recognizing Flight Attendants during Black History Month

AFA is highlighting Flight Attendant leaders and activists during Black History Month and we want to include you or a flying partner! Submit your flying partners here or send your ABC (All Black Crew) pictures to [email protected].

AFA Black History Month and Black Lives Matter pins are on the way to your Local Council. Wear your pins in solidarity. Look for AFA's focus on Black History throughout the month.

This week, we highlighted Flight Attendants from Frontier and United.

Cher Taylor, Frontier AFA

“Cher is the current AFA Frontier MEC (Master Executive Council) Government Affairs Chair. Her dedication to her advocacy and organizing fellow Flight Attendants is truly inspirational. She has been on the frontlines fighting for Flight Attendants including 10 Hours rest, the Payroll Support Program, and most recently the upcoming FAA Reauthorization Bill. Our Union is so much stronger because of her work.” - Ronald Bowman, AFA-CWA Council 81 ATL President

Kimberly Johnson, United AFA

"As an AFA advocate for more than 25 years, Kim has held numerous AFA positions, including HKG LECP, EAP and Grievance committees. Council 11 is grateful for her service to SFO and AFA on the INTL HRE Committee and CWA Civil Rights & Equity Committee. Kim lives in Houston where she is an avid trail rider and motorcycle enthusiast, and makes a mean gumbo (ask anyone!)" - Kristie Rivera, AFA-CWA Council 11 SFO President 

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