Message from the President Chairman
Ronald Stewart Jr.
I would like to personally welcome you to the website of the Professional Black Firefighters Association of Tulsa (PBFAT)! Originally established as the Black Firefighters of Oklahoma (1982) and formerly recognized as the Coalition of Black Firefighters (1990), the Association’s membership set out to reestablish and redefine its purpose within the Tulsa Fire Department and the various communities within the City of Tulsa. On February 23rd of 2020, our membership charted the course to honor the great legacy of “The Six”. Clifford Harn, Merle Stripling, Robert L. Shanks, Milton T. Goodwin, Henry L. Collier, and Cleatus Q. Stephens were the first six black men to be hired as professional fire fighters for the TFD in 1956.
The sacrifices, challenges, trials, and triumphs of these men serves as both inspiration and motivation for the advancement of the Association. The idea is not only to unite as Black firefighters, but to serve as advocates, educators, mentors, activists, volunteers, fund raisers, and liaisons for the historically disenfranchised communities of Tulsa. Our pledge is to stand in the forefront of action and uphold the principles of community engagement as we voice our needs and come together to right the prejudicial systems that exist in the fire service and in our local communities.
PBFAT honors, celebrates and recognizes ALL of the black men whom had to endured the historically deleterious conditions of the fire service in order for us to have the careers and benefits we appreciate today. With that being said, we still have work to do! Tulsa is rich in untapped talent that our Black and brown communities have to offer. As a method of supporting economic development in minority communities, PBFAT encourages the TFD to remove any and all biased barriers to employment, create more employment opportunities, and to engage in the intentional employment of minorities.
“As Black firefighters, it is our challenge to make the fire services more relevant to the needs and aspirations of minority citizens and communities…” -Carrie Edwards-Clemons
I welcome and encourage you to explore our website as we proudly share who we are and the principles for which we stand. Our website is intended to highlight the efforts of PBFAT’s past, present, and future. Please feel free to contact us at any time with your questions or concerns. I hope you enjoy your visit to our new online home.
United as one!
Ronald Stewart Jr.
(2020- Current )