In This Edition
- Black Lives Matter
- Onboard Fume Events – How To Recognize and Respond
- AFA EAP Support Services
Black Lives Matter
By Chip Hestle, MEC Human Rights Committee Chairperson
Three words at the center of conversations, not only in the United States of America, but throughout the world. So just what does Black Lives Matter (BLM) mean? BLM is an international human rights movement, founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tomet, in July 2013. The BLM movement originated from the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. BLM is a global organization focused on annihilating white supremacy and stepping in to support black citizens who are victims of systemic racism and violence because of the color of their skin.
Systemic racism is deep-rooted discrimination that has repeated itself again and again, becoming more and more ingrained in society during a span of generations.
As it was stated by Mr. Strickland, senior legal analyst and special assistant to the director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, at the Ohio State University, “Systemic racism permeates within our institutions, its within our laws, our policies and our practices that have this founded foundation of biases, discrimination where you have barriers that place certain races above others. It permeates so much that people see it as normal, and it’s kind of normalized, that’s how, the way things are, when, in fact, these structures have been set up to the place certain races above others.”
As Flight Attendants, we have the privilege of working side-by-side with diverse colleagues and passengers aboard our aircrafts. Our paramount responsibility as Flight Attendants is to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Have you witnessed or experienced racism while inflight? Think about it.
Let me be clear—saying or hearing BLM doesn’t mean that non-black lives don’t matter. BLM has provided a platform for the black community and for people of color to draw attention to the need for change.
How can we effectively make change? Together, we can have healthy productive conversations with our family, friends and crew members. A discussion around race is not easy. But, if you desire to be a part of the solution and not the problem, I encourage you to try. As Flight Attendants we have the gift of navigating difficult conversations. We have the innate ability to express our feelings and, even more importantly, listen.
During this time of unparalleled crisis with COVID-19 and civil unrest, I encourage you to reach out to your Local Human Rights Committee Chairperson or your Local Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee. Your AFA Human Rights Committee is here for you.
Onboard Fume Events – How To Recognize and Respond
Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) – Air Quality Subcommittee
Everyone knows that the cabin can smell. Most of the time, the smells are unpleasant but should not make you sick. But when you notice an unpleasant, unusual smell sourced to the air supply vents – “fumes” – you should pay attention.
The design and maintenance of aircraft systems means that, sometimes, engine oil and hydraulic fluid fumes contaminate the air supplied to the cabin for ventilation. Ever noticed a dirty sock smell coming from the vents, maybe associated with APU usage or engine start? That smell can be engine oil fumes and the chemicals in those fumes can make you sick. Similarly, an acrid smell from the vents can be hydraulic fluid fumes. Other types of chemicals can get into the ventilation system, too, like deicing fluid and exhaust fumes. It’s important to know how to recognize and respond to the presence of these fumes in the cabin.
To assist our Members, AFA has created a video training tool to teach Flight Attendants how to recognize and respond to the presence of fumes onboard. The entire training takes approximately 40 minutes to complete and is built in modules that run for about 5 to 10 minutes each and can be completely individually. There is no password or login required to access the material. Check it out – listen to the stories of crewmembers who have been affected by fumes and learn about what you need to notice, plus the various AFA resources you can access.
AFA EAP Support Services
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee
AFA EAP has put together several resources to help Flight Attendants manage their personal mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 outbreak. All services are available in either a telephone or online format. For a complete list of support services being offered, schedules, and access information, please click here.