(courtesy Tara Wright and Mallory Cave)
It’s been a LONG 86 years, but for the first time two Black female pilots fly Alaska Airlines planes. With style and grace, Tara Wright, the Captain of Flight 361 from San Francisco to Portland introduced herself along with her first officer, Mallory Cave, to passengers on a packed Mother’s Day flight that they were the FIRST Black women to fly a plane in Alaska Airlines’ in history.
“You’re sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines’ history this morning,” Wright declares to her flight.
After a wave of applause from the Mother’s Day passengers, the Boeing 737 took off after Captain Wright’s announcement. After hearing about this significant moment, passengers posted videos of the Captain and First Officer causing the video to go viral!
The video was initially posted on Facebook by Tara Wright and later shared by the airline with the caption: “History in the flying. Alaska Airlines Flight #361 from San Francisco to Portland, OR. Our first ever flight piloted by 2 African-American women. What Bessie Coleman started in 1921, we continue here.”
There is a massive gender and race disparity in the United States airline business. “Female pilots, and especially female African American pilots, make up a tiny minority at commercial airlines,” a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said in a statement. A 2015 federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that 91 percent of airline pilots and 73 percent of flight attendants were white; just 9 percent of pilots were female, versus nearly 75 percent of flight attendants.
Wright and Cave don’t want their accomplishment to fall on deaf ears. They hope this news will inspire the younger generations. “I thought about my family and I thought about all the young African-American women who would watch the video and be inspired to do something that few others have done — to join us in a career that can be the most fulfilling and satisfying,” Wright told Buzzfeed News
Though we’ve come a long way, we’ve STILL got a long way to go. We’re living our ancestor’s WILDEST DREAMS. Never stop achieving and Never stop believing young Black women.
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Chic Chat contributor