Black progress and fortitude is impressive.
Let’s take time to celebrate the gains that have been made over the past few years. Keep moving towards a future where we can all be free to achieve the American dream.
This month, as we celebrate the election of our First African American female Vice President, we also honor these individuals who exercised optimism, insight, and energy to realize their dreams.
First African American Woman to Lead Walgreens
Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, Walgreens new Boots Alliance CEO, will get a nearly $25 million signing bonus in addition to her $1.5 million annual salary.
Brewer, who was chief operating officer at Starbucks, will become the first African American woman to lead Walgreens. She will be the only Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Brewer is a proud graduate of Spelman College and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., who has been listed as the 64th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and one of the 50 most Powerful Women by Fortune.
First Black CEO of the Girl Scouts
Judith Batty, a lifelong Girl Scout and board member, has made history as the first Black CEO of the Girl Scouts of the United States since the organization was established 108 years ago.
“As families across the country contend with so much uncertainty and upheaval, I am committed to ensuring that the Girl Scouts continues to offer a shelter in the storm – a place where all our girls feel welcome, can find community, solidarity, leadership opportunities and fun, despite the challenging moment we are all collectively living through,” she said.
First Black Female Brigade Commander
Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber is the Naval Academy’s first Black female brigade commander.
Barber, of Lake Forest, Illinois, was chosen among 30 candidates as the Naval Academy’s brigade commander. She is the first Black woman to hold that position, which is the highest leadership position within the brigade and it’s similar to being student body president. She is the sole representative of all 4,000 midshipmen.
Barber has a message for little girls who hear her story: “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something and don’t tell yourself that you can’t do something. The dreams that scare you the most are the ones that are worth taking.”
First Black Woman Fire Captain
Andrea Hall is the first Black woman promoted to fire captain in the history of Georgia’s South Fulton Fire Rescue Department.
Hall led the country in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, performing a moving rendition of it in both spoken word and sign language.
Hall was promoted to captain in 2004 and wanted to do anything she could to unite the country at a time of immense division.
“Everything it expresses, I want to embody that in that moment. And just making sure that I am representing my family, my professional family here in South Fulton, representing the nation, and making sure that they understand the passion from which I speak those words about being indivisible as a nation…because that’s what it’s going to take to move our country forward,” she said.
First Black Woman Astronaut to Visit International Space Station
Jeanette Epps, a NASA astronaut, will soon make history as the first-ever Black woman to fly to the International Space Station on a mission into orbit. It will also be her first space flight in her career.
Epps has been assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. She will be joining NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for a six-month expedition which is set to launch in 2021.
First Black Woman to Play Professional Hockey
In 2016, Blake Bolden, a native from Cleveland, Ohio, became the first African American woman to play in the National Women’s Hockey League, a subsidiary of the NHL. In 2019, she reclaimed her hardest shot title in the NWHL All-Star Skills Competition and was awarded Defensive Player of the Year. Learn more about her at www.BlakeBolden.com.
First Black Woman to Write for a Marvel Movie
Marvel’s ‘Blade’ will be written by ‘Watchmen’ writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour.
Osei-Kuffour earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding writing in a comedy series for her work on Hulu’s cringe comedy Pen15. But it was her contributions to HBO’s Watchmen, starring Oscar award winning actress Regina King and based on the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons comic, where she received attention.
When asked about refining her art and how she wants to express it as a Black woman, Osei-Kuffour said, “It just makes me want to continue to create in-depth stories for people of color. Stories that are expansive, unique, fun, creepy, cool and most importantly, not stereotypical. I love creating worlds for people of color that I haven’t seen before.”
First African American to Serve as Vice President
Kamala D. Harris is the United States’ first female, first African American and first Asian American to assume, the second-most powerful office in the world.
Her first act as vice president was swearing-in her replacement Alex Padilla as well as Georgia senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who were elected in the 2021 Georgia runoff elections. On February 5, in her role as president of the senate, Harris broke a 50-50 tie by casting a vote in favor of the Democratic Covid-19 relief package.
Harris, whose father is Jamaican and mother is Indian, was elected in 2016 to the US Senate after serving as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017. Prior to that, she was San Francisco, California district attorney.
Harris is also one of latest subjects of the “Political Power” series of comic books. Published by TidalWave Comics with words and art by Michael Frizell and Juan Burgos, “Political Power: Madam Vice President Kamala Harris” tells her story using the unique storytelling properties of comic books. The “Political Power” series was launched during the 2008 presidential campaign, with Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton as the first subjects.
Said Harris, “There is a lot of work to be done to make sure our leaders reflect the people they are supposed to represent. The more diverse a group of decision makers is, the more informed the decision will be. Until we achieve full representation, we all should understand we are falling short of the ideals of our country.”