Black History Month is an important opportunity for the aerospace industry to celebrate the game-changing contributions, both past and present, made by Black trailblazers within the industry.
For Redwire, Black History Month is an important moment of intention. Not only is it an opportunity to celebrate, learn, and come together, it’s also an opportunity to bolster the values of diversity and inclusion that have become important parts the company’s identity.
As part of an internal Redwire initiative meant to support diversity, inclusion, and representation within the Redwire ecosystem and our team’s communities, Redwire employees found ways to elevate voices, raise awareness, and explore pertinent topics.
Celebrating Historical Accomplishments
During Black History Month, Redwire took the opportunity to recognize the journey of Black Americans in both their accomplishments and their struggles. Our team’s focus on celebrating the many accomplishments included recognizing the impact of historical black figures in the aerospace industry. Without their ingenuity and bravery, the aerospace industry wouldn’t be where it is today.
Thanks, Doc 🩺!
Dr. Vance Marchbanks Jr. was one of two black MDs to complete the U.S. Army Air Corps School in Aerospace Medicine during WII, joining the Tuskegee Airmen as a flight doctor. He later supported @NASA's Mercury program to monitor the health of John Glenn in orbit. pic.twitter.com/KWgKmwJ7vF
— Redwire Space (@RedwireSpace) February 10, 2022
🛩️ Soarin' high
Often known as "Brave Bessie," Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman + first Native American to earn a pilot license in 1921. She is best known for her flying tricks like "loop-the-loops" + figure 8's, as well as teaching others. #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/mggOp8mPLs
— Redwire Space (@RedwireSpace) February 23, 2022
Lifting Redwire Voices
We also sat down with a few of our employees to hear about their experiences in aerospace and what inclusion means to them. Our colleagues were eager to share their experiences, knowledge, roles within the company, and what Black History Month means to them.
Redwire’s Vice President of Capacity Planning and Operations Gwen Holloway sat down to talk about the importance of Black History Month and the uniqueness of Black culture and identity. She also reflected on her unique role at Redwire and the diversity of the company: “I love the idea that I have the ability to deal with multiple people and multiple kinds of people and be a resource for them.” For Gwen, “inclusion means having the courage to look further, look beyond just the surface.” Learn more about Gwen’s thoughts on Black History Month in the video below:
We also sat down with Redwire’s Talent Performance Manager, Chari Childs. She is responsible for the strategic organizational direction for Performance Management and Learning and Development functions to include human resources systems and processes within Redwire.
For Chari, Black history is American history and is something to be celebrated all year long. How does Chari celebrate Black history? “Representation matters, so I make it a point for my children to have books, watch shows and movies, and learn about others who look like them. This, in my opinion, opens the doors of possibility, even at a very young age.”
When asked what inclusivity means to her, Chari said: “It means having a seat at the table and being invited to share your thoughts, ideas and perspective with others truly valuing your input.”
In recognition of Black History Month, Redwire employees had the opportunity to hear from retired U.S. Navy Capt. Winston E. Scott to hear his perspective and insights on heritage, the importance of educational opportunities, and working in the aerospace industry. In addition to being a retired Navy officer, Scott is a former NASA astronaut.
Retired U.S. Navy Capt. and former NASA astronaut Winston E. ScottHe served as a mission specialist on multiple NASA missions, logging more than 24 days in space, including three spacewalks totaling 19 hours and 26 minutes. Winston is a Florida native, belongs to many aerospace associations, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and flew helicopters and planes as a naval aviator.
Embracing Opportunities for Future Generations
Redwire is committed to investing in the next-generation aerospace workforce through its STEM outreach and robust internship program. Redwire has partnered with several organizations, including the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship and Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. Last year, Redwire partnered with the Zed Factor Fellowship, which seeks to empower and engage learners and aspiring aerospace professionals from underrepresented backgrounds through hands-on, practical experiences working and contributing to leading companies in the aerospace industry. Redwire welcomed two Zed Factor Fellows in 2021 and looks forward to welcoming more into the Redwire intern class of 2022.
Last year, Redwire and Zed Factor teamed up to host a webinar titled Celebrating African American Leadership In Space, which included a panel of distinguished Black aerospace professionals, including Redwire Vice President of Marketing and Communications Austin Jordan, who discussed the importance of diversity, allyship, and key issues within the industry. Redwire looks forward to expanding these opportunities and helping to broaden STEM accessibility for students of all backgrounds, especially those underrepresented in the aerospace industry.
Celebrating Inclusivity for the Future of Aerospace
At Redwire, inclusivity and diversity are vital to everything we do. Redwire looks forward to continuing to take measures to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment by celebrating our team’s unique cultural heritage throughout the year, while also driving larger conversations to explore how the aerospace industry can make an impact.