Tracy Lewis is Now the 2nd Black Woman Lieutenant in FDNY’s History

by Nana Aduba-Amoah

Tracy Lewis is paving a way for black women in the public safety industry after being promoted to firefighter lieutenant at the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) ceremony held Wednesday morning.  Lewis, 41, is the second black woman in the history of the FDNY to be promoted in twelve years.

“A lot of times you’ll get: ‘you’re a female,’” she said. “They’re wondering whether or not you can do the job. But if you’ve been through the academy and you’ve proven yourself there, that should be enough.”

Lewis has been working at the firehouse Engine Company 222 in Bedford-Stuyvesant for seventeen years and is one of nine black female firefighters in the department. Ella McNair was the first black female firefighter to be promoted in 2002, however, she later retired in 2006.

“It’s about time—long time overdue,” McNair said in regards to Lewis’s promotion. “This girl’s more than deserving.”

 The FDNY has made progression in integrating minorities following a discrimination lawsuit in which they agreed to pay $98 million to minority firefighters this March. In 2007, when the suit was filed, the FDNY’s work force was 90 percent white; however, 45 percent of the company’s recent graduating class were minorities.

Photo credit: Todd Maisel/ New York Daily News

Nana Aduba-Amoah is a graduate student at DePaul University in Chicago pursuing her M.A in Journalism. She received her B.A. in communications at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. She's a Ghanaian native who currently resides in the Chicago area. She's passionate about covering political issues and loves to write poetry on her spare time.

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