It is well documented that Black RCAF members face systemic barriers to personal growth and development in the workplace and the CAF still hasn’t met stated Employment Equity (EE) goals for visible minorities. Attendance to the Stargaze Gala provided members with an opportunity to network and learn from a broader Black aviation community,empowering them in their professional aspirations within the RCAF. This rare opportunity also contributed to moving the needle towards building trust in the CAF and promoting the RCAF in communities that have historically lacked trust in the the military.
Reflecting on their participation to the event, here is what some RCAF members had to say:“I was happy to see that there are black aviation professionals that served in the military and that currently serving. The fact that the RCAF attended this event speaks volumes and improves my perception of that relationship. I never had a “super” negative perception to begin with but being invited to an event like this does help” – Avr Ene, 22 Wing.
“I would say that it had a positive impact on my perception of the relationship between the military and my community. Having an event like the Stargaze Gala helped to bring the military and members of our communities together and helped to foster new connections and build an understanding and appreciation for what all of us do. These connections between the military and the civilian world are integral for the wellness of CAF members as it serves as a reminder that although we operate around the globe, our families and communities are the metaphorical glue that keeps us together” – Avr Randell,400 (Tac Hel) Sqn.
“This event may have reminded the community that the military aviation world has a lot of unique experiences to share. Both the military and civilian aviation community perform similar tasks,however, the opportunity to deploy provides a different experience that could be intriguing to the community outside of the military. I think everyone should hear more about the great experiences we have during deployments” – Cpl Clayton,443 (MH) Sqn.
“With this event, I believed the bridge of networking and connectivity between the civilian world of Aviation and RCAF will be more stronger, couple with the fact that there were some personnel that are willing to join the RCAF but do notknow how to go about it or are skeptical about it but this event created a chance to eradicate those barriers” – Cpl Balogun, 402 Sqn.
“Proudness for the community, as a RCAF member who started as an aircraft maintenance technician in the civilian world years ago, it was indescribable to see others with similar passions all together, with so many successful stories, old and young but mostly young. Very refreshing to encounter as, too often, the ratio in the day-to-day life is literally the opposite from what we lived that night.” – MCpl Blanchard, 433ETAC.
“Attending this event has solidified my commitment to staying actively involved in the aviation community, and I am hopeful for the chance to attend and contribute to similar occasions in the future” – Sgt Baguidy, RCAF Academy.
By attending Stargaze for the first time, the RCAF highlighted the value of creating connections with the communities that they serve and with people representing those communities within our ranks. Let’s keep working together to create such spaces and looking forward to seeing you in attendance at the next gala in 2024!
Capt Anita Yengue, P. Eng, ing., MBA