Vulcans help minorities apply to FDNY

Pie chart of the FDNY's racial breakdown

The Vulcan Society is moving to help minority applicants who would like to work for the New York City Fire Department.

Amsterdam News reports that members of the national organization of Black firefighters were visiting the homes of applicants, to help them complete their paperwork, encourage them to follow through, and make sure they are eligible to take the FDNY exam.

The FDNY’s current ethnic breakdown shows 7,372 firefighters are White, 314 are Black, 646 are Hispanic, 77 are Asian, and 5 are Native  American.

From Amsterdam News:

Citing the city’s “pattern and practice of discrimination against Black firefighter candidates,” as well non-whites already on the job, Brooklyn Judge Nicholas Garaufis sided with a lawsuit brought against the FDNY by the Vulcan Society and the Justice Department.

In November, the federal judge appointed former federal prosecutor Mark S. Cohen as a court monitor to ensure diversity in the FDNY’s hiring practices.

The city objected, but the appointment stayed and will be in place for the next 10 years.

“The whole lawsuit was about the city diversifying the FDNY,” said Marshall, a lieutenant with 30 years on the job. “The Vulcans always wanted to help, but the city has always been reluctant. What we are doing, the city could be doing.”

John Coombs, president of the Vulcan Society, told the AmNews, “It’s very important that all of the candidates who applied to join the New York City Fire Department do continue through the process. If they are to receive waivers, they must complete that form and they must complete the application form.”

Coombs reflected on the many years it has taken and the many minds and hearts that toiled in the struggle to get Black men and women into a resistant FDNY. “Whatever it is the applicants need to do to continue the process that so many have worked hard and long for to ensure equality in the New York City fire department, they must do. This is an opportunity for the community as a whole to say thank you by at least doing their part.”

“Around 3,000 out of 60,000 people have not finished their applications About 2,000 [of those] are Black,” said Washington.

Last year’s heavy recruitment drive resulted in 23 percent Black and 23 percent Latino applicants.

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