Fly For The Culture is a non-profit that Jerome Stanislaus began working with last year, wants more people of color in the aviation industry
A career in Aviation is expensive and not many get equal opportunities to realize their passion for flying. While only 3% of all commercial pilots in the U.S. are Black, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 90% of all U.S. pilots are white, and 91% are male. But two men are trying to change that.
Fly For The Culture offers free flying lessons for minorities and mentorship opportunities for those who would like to pursue careers in the sky. The group also tries to promote aviation culture in underprivileged communities and increase chances for people of the black community wanting to fly.
"I told myself that I would never probably be a pilot because I actually never saw a pilot that looked like myself," Stanislaus tells CBS News about how the lack of representation affected his childhood.
Last year, Stanislaus started giving free flights, often to kids of color. “I love it,” he said while holding back tears of joy. “I really want to be able to make a difference and this is how I do it. It’s like my purpose.”
Fly For The Culture is "not completely about minorities," Stanislaus told CNN. "I just happen to live in Brooklyn, New York — in a minority community — and those are the types of people who reach out to me. The purpose of Fly For The Culture is to promote diverse inclusion to create an aviation culture of people from all different walks of life."
"But I never believed that I would ever actually become a pilot," Stanislaus told CNN in an interview. "I did not really believe it was possible — even though I had so much support from my family. I told myself I couldn't do it because I had never seen a Black pilot — not one time. I didn't think that Black kids actually grew up to be pilots. I thought it was just rich white kids.
The idea behind the project came from Savage, a commercial pilot in North Carolina, who thought the high-paying jobs in the aviation industry should be open to people from the black community.
"I just want to use this nonprofit to get that idea out there. We didn't expect all this to happen," he said in a CNN interview. "We were just two young guys who want to fly kids."