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[From R to L: Charlotte Shannon, Giselle King, Vanessa Schoening and Antoinette Proctor]

Four women (three of them, women of color) were among the 286 graduates of the FDNY Fire Academy Tuesday, boosting the number of female firefighters in the department to the highest level in 32 years! Congratulations are in order for Charlotte Shannon, Giselle King, Vanessa Schoening and Antoinette Proctor in joining the FDNY!

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This is such a proud moment for women because firefighters are often seen as macho men. FDNY boasts 10,500 firefighters and while these four women (especially the three women of color) represent a special time for the FDNY, it’s obvious there’s room for more women in this boy’s club.

FDNY now has 41 female firefighters, which is the exact number they had in 1982 when it was court ordered for the nation’s largest fire department to start accepting women. “It’s a big day for us,” said Sarinya Srisakul, president of the United Women Firefighters.

Graduate Antoinette Proctor (pictured above), 33, a former Marine, said the keys to becoming a firefighter include guts and determination. “The whole thing was hard,” Proctor admitted.

Another graduate pictured above, Giselle King, 33, says, “I pushed myself to the limits. I just encourage you to be your best in your darkest moments. When you think you can’t do it, if you just keep pushing forward, you don’t know what you can accomplish.”

“There are no rational explanations for the low number of women on the department other than discrimination.We have a chance now to really start a new chapter in the history of the FDNY,” Berkman said. “It’s a benefit to the fire department to have a diverse workforce.” retired fire captain, Brenda Berkman said.

Officials said 45 percent of those who graduated at the Christian Culture Center in Brooklyn are minorities — including 48 African-Americans, 70 Hispanics and 10 Asians.
Congratulations ladies! May your courage continue to inspire young women to go for goals that are typically designated for men. It’s a new dawn. A new day. And a new life…for women. And we’re feeling (and looking) good!



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BEAUTIFUL NEWS: Four Women Firefighters Are Proud Graduates At FDNY Ceremony  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com