Get to Know Regina Wilson, FDNY Firefighter | The 2019 MAKERS Conference
Trailblazing FDNY firefighter and one of 9/11's first responders, Regina Wilson, shares her story and highlights the importance of diversity in the FDNY.
REGINA WILSON: My goal is to have the badest obituary ever. You're not going to have enough pages to say the things that I've done. [MUSIC PLAYING] In 1992, I went to Javits Center, and I was there for a black expo. A recruiter came up to me and asked me if I ever thought about becoming a New York City firefighter. And I said, no. Then he started to talk about, well, you know, this would be a great unique opportunity for you, because there's not a lot of African-Americans, and there's not a lot of women on the job. So I thought, like, why not me? And why is it that they think that a woman can't do this? The first part of becoming a firefighter, I had to take a written exam. I remember sitting in my classroom getting ready to take the test, and I was surrounded by white men. I was the only black female in the room. I've never felt that much alone in my life, but I had to sit strong and know that I had to fight, and know that I deserve to be here just like they did. There were drill instructors that, soon as they came on Randall's Island, their goal was try to break my spirit. You don't belong here. You're not fast enough. You're not strong enough. Any time you want to leave, I'll walk you to the gate. All of those negativities just built me up. [MUSIC PLAYIN] It infuriates me when people in general say women aren't strong enough, men have the most upper body strength. Just let me pull you out, save your life, and then you can determine whether or not I did the best job once you're alive, because I came in the building to save your life. [SIREN SOUNDS] [MUSIC PLAYING]