*United Airlines Flight 1258 celebrated Juneteenth with an all-Black flight staff.
As previously reported, last week President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth bill into law, calling it is an example of the US coming to terms with “the mistakes we made.”
“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them. Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Only a handful of states currently observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
The new Juneteenth holiday is the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
United Airline’s all-Black flight crew flew from Houston to Chicago the day after Juneteenth (June 19) holiday.
“Now, we’re soaring amongst the stars,” Mayor Sylvester Turner told KTRK. “Let me tell you, for our ancestors, my parents, if they were still alive, they would just be amazed.”
“Years ago, I was not able to fly in the capacity as a pilot,” United pilot Deon Byrn said. “This is just amazing to represent a section of our culture.”
“It is very difficult being a Black person, a Black woman, in the aviation industry,” Byrne said. “There’s not a lot of encouragement, and there’s absolutely mentorship for the future generation, but when I came in, it was very difficult to find the funding, the resources, and the connections to get started in the industry.”
Byrn, who has worked 25 years in the aviation industry, said Saturday was the first time she has flown with an all-Black staff.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, what’s the big deal, a bunch of Black people are just flying from here to there,’ but it is a big deal,” Byrne said. “In the aviation industry, people have always questioned if we were as safe or as competent. And we are careful. We’re very competent.”
Check out the video report above.