2020 Jul 26, 9:31pm
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FDNY diversity official defends decision to exclude hero white veteran firefighter who was in iconic 9/11 photo from ceremonial color guard so all flag-bearers could be black FDNY chief diversity and inclusion officer Cecilia Loving defended the decision while testifying at a New York state Division of Human Rights trial White firefighter Lt. Daniel McWilliams filed the lawsuit claiming racial bias The lawsuit involves a 2017 incident that took place at a FDNY memorial mass honoring deceased members of a fraternal society of black firefighters McWilliams had been selected to be a flag bearer in the mass' color guard McWilliams said the order's president told him he could not participate in the ceremony because she had asked for an all-black color guard An FDNY diversity official has said that it's 'most definitely' acceptable to keep a white firefighter off a ceremonial color guard so the flag bearers could all be black, according to a new report. White firefighter Lt. Daniel McWilliams filed a lawsuit claiming racial bias after he was removed from a flag-bearing unit at a November 2017 memorial mass honoring deceased members of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal society of black firefighters.And FDNY's chief diversity and inclusion officer, lawyer Cecilia Loving, has defended the decision at a New York state Division of Human Rights trial, The New York Post reports. McWilliams was one of the three FDNY firefighters seen in an iconic photo as they hoist the American flag at Ground Zero in the days after the 9/11 attacks. According to McWilliams' complaint, he been selected by the FDNY Ceremonial Unit to serve as one of the flag bearers in the color guard at the memorial service. Being a flag bearer at the event was an 'esteemed honor and privilege' for McWilliams, according to his lawsuit, CNN reported. Upon his arrival at the event, however, McWilliams was barred from participating in the color guard by then-Vulcan Society president Regina Wilson because she allegedly had asked for an all-black color guard at the mass. ...During her trial testimony, McWilliams' lawyer, Keith Sullivan, asked Loving - who is black - 'So, a request for an all-black color guard is not discriminatory?''No, it isn’t,' Loving said, according to the New York Post. ...In a brief, Sullivan wrote that rejecting McWilliams from the mass' color guard position was 'deplorable' and a sign of double standards in the fire department. 'If you’re black and you discriminate against a white person in the workplace, you get a slap on the wrist at best,' Sullivan wrote.