Diversity, equity, and inclusion are now taking center stage from 30,000 feet.
As part of an ongoing relationship with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), which helps fund historically Black colleges and universities, Alaska Airlines’ “Our Commitment” aircraft took to the skies as a symbol of the airline’s promise to create a place where everyone sees themselves and belongs.
The aircraft, which made its inaugural flight from Seattle to Washington D.C., on Tuesday, April 27, was created by Alaska Air’s Black employee resource group to illustrate the airline’s belief in education as the great equalizer and as a critical component of creating sustainable racial equity. The typography on the aircraft was created by Adé Hogue a Chicago-based artist and designer, who found inspiration in Civil Rights Movement-era imagery. The aircraft features 14 profiles of the next generation of leaders: the children, grandchildren and mentees of Alaska’s employees.
“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.”
Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF said, “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.”
Aside from trying to create change from within the organization, Alaska Airlines announced it will donate one million miles annually to support students who are attending Historically Black Colleges. Additionally, the airline launched a scholarship fund through the UNCF, which is meant to help students “overcome the financial obstacles of getting a college education.”
Last month, United Airlines also announced the airline’s path forward and its commitment to fighting for equity in the airline industry.