FDNY members show support for George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protesters

Dozens of FDNY members spoke in a demonstration on Sunday, and an FDNY engine honked in support of a group of protesters on Saturday night


By Laura French

NEW YORK — Dozens of FDNY members showed their support for protesters demonstrating against racism after the killing of George Floyd, in a gathering in front of Brooklyn's Borough Hall on Sunday. 

Members of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization for black FDNY members that was founded in 1940, were joined by public officials and members of the FDNY's Hispanic Association and Asian heritage association, the Phoenix Society, to speak out against discrimination and about their desire for social change, according to the New York Daily News

Firefighter Regina Wilson, a past president of the Vulcan Society, spoke during the demonstration saying that FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro had granted permission for firefighters to wear their helmets at the event.

She pointed out that 70% of department members are white and 8% of members are black, even though less than half of New York City's population is white, and that only 1% of members are women, adding that reform is needed in order to address systemic problems in the city. 

Vulcan Society President and Firefighter Khalid Baylor said the deaths of Floyd, Kentucky EMT and ER Technician Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police during a raid at her home, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while jogging in a mostly-white neighborhood in Georgia, felt close to home for many black firefighters and EMS providers. 

"Breonna was one of us. Every day she made a conscious decision to put her life on the line for other people," Baylor said, according to the Daily News. 

Gary Tinney, the northeast regional director of the International Association of Professional Black Firefighters, said the association would be donating $1,000 to Black Lives Matter in honor of Floyd. 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer, also spoke at the event, saying that racism has "permeated and saturated" the city and the country, according to the Daily News. 

The demonstration in Brooklyn comes after a Brooklyn fire engine was seen honking and flashing its lights in support of marchers on Saturday night, in a video shared on Twitter. 

"E-234 says Black lives matter!" FDNY Capt. Paul Washington of Engine 234, the city's first majority-black fire company, said in a comment on the video. "Rest in Peace brother George Floyd." 

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