The Definition of Leadership: In Response to Racism, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gave a Speech for the Ages

by Jen Hayden –

Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent of U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the speech he gave, seen below, in response to a racist incident on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Prep Academy is the absolute definition of leadership. Here is the back story from the Air Force Times:

Racial slurs were written on the dormitory message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School earlier this week.

Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, director of public affairs for the academy, said the slurs were discovered Monday. One cadet candidate’s mother posted a photo on her Facebook page Wednesday that shows the words “go home n*****r” written on the white board outside her son’s room.

“This is why I’m so hurt!” the mother said in her post, which was at first public but then taken offline Thursday. “These young people are supposed to bond and protect each other and the country. Who would my son have to watch out for? The enemy or the enemy?”

Enter Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria. He gathered every member of the Air Force Academy Prep School. He gathered every member of the Air Force Academy. He gathered every single member of his staff. He gathered every single commanding officer from miles around. And, he gathered the media. Lt. Gen. Silveria then launched into a speech for the ages, at one point ordering the cadets to get out their phones and record his words. Calling it a “red line”, he made it crystal clear that racism in the United States Air Force will not be tolerated, telling anyone who could not abide by these directives to “get out!”

Lt. Gen. Silveria spoke about racism and unrest in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Charlottesville, Virginia—and he seemed to be directly countering the message of Donald Trump, offering the cadets and the officers of the Air Force Academy a “better way.”

Do yourself a favor and watch this speech. This is the type of leadership that makes America great.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos