Black History Month Conversations

Celebrating Black History Month,  recognizing and showing appreciation for the countless black men and women who have made an everlasting and critical impact on our world, is not only important, it’s critical in our societal development. And as our Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford shared in a letter to our Republic and LIFT family, “If 2020 showed us anything, it reaffirmed that far too often, this recognition and appreciation is limited to one month rather than being highlighted, acknowledged and respected 365 days a year.

As we celebrate Black History Month at LIFT this February, we’re having constructive and impactful conversations with our students and other Black aviators like

Courtland Savage, founder of Fly for the Culture and First Officer.

Our relationship and partnership with Fly For The Culture, a non-profit focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the aviation industry, is just one important way we’re opening dialogue for diversity, equity and inclusion at LIFT. We asked Courtland to sit down with LIFT commercial student Josh Palacios to discuss their back stories and experiences in aviation. You’ll see that they became fast friends, bonded by their love to fly!

Take a peek at some of their conversation:

After the video chat, Josh reflected on his conversation with Courtland.

“Mr. Courtland Savage is a true man of distinction. He has come to realize his power, not only as a man, but as a Black man. What is even more impressive is the way he has wrapped his powerful personality in a fine blanket of humbleness. Courtland and I agree that it is our jobs not only to fly but to share our talents with more disenfranchised communities to let them know being a pilot is obtainable for absolutely anyone who chooses to cruise along this path. It takes work, but surrounding yourself with social media [influencers] and role models such as Courtland will encourage one to push through and cross the finish line.”

“The conversation I had with Courtland was a true inspiration to me.  We spoke about our initial sparks of interest regarding flying. We talked about our fears while airborne. We even talked about specific training maneuvers, all of which created a very intimate conversation regarding our passion for flying. Hearing Courtland speak about his career at GoJet Airlines and the U.S. Navy caused me reflect on how each and every one of us may have the same end goal, however, our path to obtaining that goal can look drastically different. For instance, my goal is traveling internationally as a pilot. But, would you have guessed I started my first career as a fund accountant in Denver, Colorado?”