As members of the Corporate Community Affairs Team, we have the unique and distinct opportunity to work with many diverse populations (African American, Hispanic, Asian American, LGBT, women, military, and seniors). Our partnerships with organizations such as the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, the Bessie Coleman Foundation, Tuskegee Airmen, National Black Chamber of Commerce, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, multiple chapters of the NAACP Youth ACT-SO Programs, and Urban Leagues permits us to personally learn firsthand of the organization, its history, and progress. We are proud that Southwest Airlines not only supports Black History, but understands the importance of recognizing history all year long. After all, if we do not nurture and learn from our historical roots, we lack the opportunity to grow.
Karen’s thoughts: “Opportunities” is the single most important word that comes to mind when I hear or think about Black History. I am grateful for the undaunted bravery, persistence, and sacrifice of our forefathers, and the many others that stood with them. Their tenacities created many paths for opportunity. My children and I are now able to use our full potentials to participate in a country that previously only appreciated the privileged. In a recent speech, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, President University of Maryland, Baltimore County, challenged: “your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your character, and your character becomes your destiny.” The progress achieved by our black historical leaders assures that I can envision opportunities beyond the now, beyond the knowledge, and beyond the resources to create my own destiny and a “more perfect” country and world.
Jackie’s thoughts: We must know where we have been in order to know where we are going, and Black History Month allows us to reflect, learn, and celebrate in our achievements while remembering those who paved the way for us. Reviewing reference books and historical literature, I am reminded that our history is paved with talent, creativity, and music in our hearts. Inventions like the plow (by Andrew Beard) and the remote control apparatus (by James Metthew Allen) have been an integral part of this country and continue to make contributions for the betterment of all who live here. I enjoy attending events and celebrations Employees at Southwest Airlines organize and spending time with community partners from annual dinners to helping at a local youth association; I benefit by being with the organizations we support throughout the year. As we celebrate Black History Month, I am privileged to have witnessed modern history, along with millions of people around the world when Barack Obama took the oath to be the 44th President of the United States on January 20. We have come a long way and yes, we can continue to make history and build on the foundation that was created for us by those who came and left their footprints.