On Monday, I experienced one of the most moving moments of my life. I was invited over to the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy, for a special honoring on their behalf for my accomplishments in the community during Black History Month. What was to be an honor in itself to be able to talk to the kids and spread my message a little more, turned into an event which truly humbled me and even left me inspired.
When I arrived at the Promise Academy II, I was welcomed by the Program Coordinator, Titus Mitchell and another very special guest that was also being honored that day- none other than Lt. Col. John Mulzac, an original Tuskegee Airman. Daddy John, as he's affectionately called, was one of the original recruits to train and fly under what was known as the "Tuskegee Experiment," the first all African-American pursuit squadron during World War II.
It was an honor just to get to meet Daddy John, but the chance to get to speak to him was life-changing! He shared with me a few stories of when he started in the Air Force and flying all over the world. But what was most admirable about John's history was all that he persevered. Daddy John shared with me a story that was truly inspiring. His story detailed the prejudice and discrimination he had to endure upon first entering the Air Force (Click his name below to hear the sound clip) and how he still persevered beyond that to not only fly in WWII, but also in the Korean War, Vietnam, and all around the world.
What is even more encouraging about Lt. Col. Mulzac is his continued message to always keep on through adversity and be successful is everything you do, with the help of education. He made sure to let the kids at the Promise Academy II know to keep in their studies in order to be successful adults. Some of his best advice pointed to the fact that not everyone might make it through college but that doesn't mean they can't be successful, as long as you do what you love to do in life. As he so lovingly stated, "You may not be able to climb the ladder, but you can always take the steps."
That day I was presented with an award from the Harlem Children's Zone for my dedication and achievements in my field as a Black professional, but the greatest reward was also being able to see the past and the future of the community together in one room celebrating education and admiration for one another. The whole event was truly a humbling experience and I want to thank the Harlem Children's Zone for their acknowledgement as well as Tuskegee Airman John Mulzac for his continued service to our country.