Greetings Air Force Academy Graduates and Friends,
On the day our nation celebrated Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, the Way of Life Alumni Group hosted an online gathering to facilitate a frank conversation about racial injustice in the nation and our Air Force.
During the 90-minute gathering titled “Action Beyond the Conversation,” three panelists — William “T” Thompson ’73, Kathryn Smith ’82 and Edward Hopkins ’95 — provided their insights into the ongoing civil unrest that has gripped the nation over the past month. Moderators Rashad Howard ’01 and Fletcher “Flash” Wiley ’65 also participated in the conversation.
The online forum attracted more than 300 participants and resulted in a number of key recommendations to help bring about real cultural and institutional change in the days ahead.
Among the recommended actions shared from the panelists:
- Examining if overt and subtle racism should be a Cadet Honor Code violation
- Encouraging the hiring of more diverse faculty members at USAFA
- Measuring racial incidents at the Academy in a similar fashion as tracking sexual assaults
- Dedicating more resources to help identify and deal with racial issues on campus and in the Air Force.
If you missed the event, we’ve posted an edited version of the broadcast above for viewing when you have the time. We encourage everyone to watch and understand how each of us can play a part in rooting out racism and hate.
Our Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85, hosted an online forum two weeks ago focusing on similar topics. You can access the two-hour program here.
We continue to emphasize a lifetime of service from our graduates. And there is no greater moment in our nation’s history to inspire and effect societal change than right now. Our organizations are taking a hard look internally on how we can be better positioned to support all graduates and our Academy.
The Association of Graduates and the Air Force Academy Foundation were pleased to help support the Way of Life Alumni Group and to promote this important virtual town hall gathering to graduates, cadets, parents and friends. We stand ready to partner with you and all groups that we serve, to make connections to the Academy and to each other. Join us!
With deepest respect,
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould '76, CEO of the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation
Marty Marcolongo '88, president and COO of the Association of Graduates
Mark Hille '97, president and COO of the Air Force Academy Foundation