On Monday, April 26th, Alaska Airlines unveiled their new 737-900ER aircraft designed with the words “The Commitment.” In partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Alaska has pledged to building awareness for advancing racial equity and education.
Many gathered for a ceremony at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to witness the new plane design. Included on the structure is a powerful quote from the late progressive civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” The message perfectly ties together the company’s ethics alongside with UNCF’s mission as they celebrate a history of its 15-year partnership.
“As a company, we know we are not yet where we need to be when it comes to diversity, but we are inspired and guided by our value to do the right thing. With this aircraft, we are doing the right thing by amplifying the conversation around education, equity and belonging and taking it to the skies,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO. “This aircraft will continue to be an inspiration for us on the journey.”
As this flight departed the following Tuesday morning on a non-stop to Washington, DC, passengers were greeted with a celebration to commemorate this monumental occasion. Attendees were greeted with remarks from Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci and UNCF Executive Vice President Maurice Jenkins who provided more insight on the importance of amplifying their efforts to better our future and creating opportunities as a union.
As Alaska Airline and UNCF continue this partnership it will provide resources for HBCus and promote a pledge of commitment to diversity, representation and inclusion for a better future.
Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF says, “While small in number, our HBCUs are landmarks to our past and keys to our future. They enable us to keep a legacy — by their very existence. HBCUs are much more than schools. They are places where Black students can feel safe, welcomed, and embraced by the college community. Additionally, the nation’s HBCUs make up just 3% of America’s colleges and universities, yet they produce almost 20% of all African American graduates and 25% of African American graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the critical industries of the future.”