Calling Out the Navy on Racism and Discrimination
I spent my entire adult working life in the Navy, retiring from the labor force at the age of 39. This happened because of the relentless discrimination I faced in my last year of service. 22 years later, I began writing about how the Navy needs to change. I wrote about the need to rename the USS John C Stennis, named for a white supremacist and segregationist.
That Proceedings magazine article was forwarded to Congress by the Navy as part of their response about the naming of ships. I wrote about the Navy's perpetual racism and the need to finally confront that in the wake of the homicide of George Floyd. That article led to discussions about the way forward with members of the Task Force One Navy leadership. I spoke on NPR's All Things Considered about the lack of Black admirals, citing racism as a contributing factor. I used my book to warn the Navy about what was coming in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. I talked to dozens of active duty military members who thanked me or helping or speaking for them. I became a disabled veteran after years of avoiding seeking help for the damage done to me by racists in uniform. I sometimes feel like I'm still on active duty. I am grateful for the service chiefs for finally confronting systemic racism in the military. I feel confident that I helped push that effort along