The U.S. Army just promoted its first active-duty Black woman chaplain to the rank of colonel, according to the Richmond Free Press.
Chaplain Monica R. Lawson makes history as the first active-duty Black female chaplain to rise up to the rank of colonel. Lawson is an African Methodist Episcopal minister, chief of recruiting and accessions for the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, and a Spelman alum.
“As an African-American woman who has always been proud of the skin that I’m in, in this time, this is a bright spot in a sea of what seems to be darkness never-ending. In a time when we are faced with political polarization, racial unrest, a pandemic, and economic uncertainty, it’s good to have something to celebrate and to take our minds off of what is going on, if only for a moment,” Lawson said.
Lawson has served as a family life chaplain at Fort Bliss, Texas, a deputy Pentagon chaplain, battalion chaplain at Fort Story, VA, and Fort Jackson, deputy cadet command chaplain at Fort Knox, KY, and a command chaplain at Fort Bragg, N.C.
During his presentation of Col. Lawson’s eagle insignia, army chief of chaplains, Major General Thomas Solhjem encouraged her to step boldly into her new role.
“You’re being recognized today, not because you are a Black female. But you are being recognized today because you have exhibited a board of what will soon be your peers and those superior that you have the potential to lead in this United States Army Chaplain Corps.,” said Solhjem.
The Five Points, Alabama native also paid homage to those who came before her during the promotion ceremony.
“Too many times, when people write history, we tend to leave out the history of those who made it possible for us to achieve our historic moments. I wanted to allow the world to see that you can make history and still embrace the history of other people,” said Lawson. “Acknowledging other people’s accomplishments, regardless of race, religion, or gender, does not diminish your accomplishment.”
Shout out to Colonel Lawson for such a major accomplishment!