By Robert Martin USAWC PAO 24 January 2020
Army War College student Air Force Lt. Col. Selicia Mitchell of the North Carolina National Guard spoke to USAWC students, faculty, and staff in Root Hall, Jan. 21 of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King during the annual MLK observance. Mitchell reflected on the power of opportunities that lead her to become the first black woman to hold a command position as Lt. Col. In the NCANG.
“My military career has been shaped by opportunities,” said Mitchell. “During my time at the Air Force Academy, I was not exposed to senior black female officers and had never seen a black female pilot. I knew of black pilots and women pilots, but I had not seen someone who looked like me in those roles.
“Demonstrating the point that exposure to opportunities is a valuable step in creating equality seeing people like you, doing things you didn’t know you could do, makes a difference,” she said.
“When I became the first black woman in the NCANG to hold an O5 command position, women approached me about how happy they were at seeing someone who looked like them in leadership. Without Dr. King’s efforts for social equity and the civil rights act, this leadership opportunity would not have been possible for someone like me; now, that I have served in this role, the officers who follow me, have an example that encourages their future opportunities,” Mitchell said.
Dr. King's life and teachings helped to shape the history of the U.S. and its culture. He dedicated his life to a dream of equality and challenged the nation to recognize that individuals should not be judged by the color of their skin. Dr. King's leadership rallied people from all walks of life and awoke a nation to the need for equality, tolerance, and justice.