Gen. Charles Q. Brown has opened up about a recent public service announcement he made regarding the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and several others at the hands of police.
"It was my own personal experiences but thinking about our two sons and their experiences, [is] actually what got me to do it," he said.
At the time he released the video, Brown was the commander of Pacific Air Forces. Awaiting confirmation the become the Air Force's chief of staff, he was unafraid of any backlash that he could have received. Instead, he spoke unapologetically about the issues of race, police brutality and inequality in America.
"I thought it was more important than in some cases confirmation," Brown said.
"If confirmation had been withheld for some reason, I knew in my heart of hearts I did what I thought was the right thing to do. And that's the way I approach life."
After releasing the video, Brown was confirmed as the chief of staff for the U.S. Air Force. By doing so, he became the highest-ranking Black man within the military and the first Black man to lead a branch of the armed services.
Brown may soon be joined by another history maker in retired Gen. Lloyd Austin. Despite only being retired for a few years, President-Elect Joe Biden has nominated Austin as the next Secretary of Defense. If confirmed, he would be the first Black man to serve in this role.
"I think for anyone of a diverse background, when you see someone who rises to a key position you take a bit of pride in it, you appreciate it and it also opens an opportunity where you can now think about your own career path," Brown said.
Brown is not satisfied with a PSA. In the future, he hopes to bring in more Black servicepeople.
"You only aspire to what you've been exposed to. Sometimes we might self-eliminate just because we don't think we're qualified. One of the areas that we as the Air Force are looking at is how do we provide more exposure to young African Americans, women really across the board, that yes, you can do this," he declared.
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