Latosha Clemons Becomes the First Black Woman to be Promoted to Battalion Chief in Florida’s Boynton Beach Fire Department.

Latosha Clemons

The gender and racial disparity amongst America’s firefighters is an ongoing conversation as departments across the country seek ways to diversify their departments. Fire departments in major cities are slowly leading the charge, but the overall number of black women firefighters in the United States hovers around 500. Very few of these women ever rise in rank within their departments. The recent promotion of Latosha Clemons to battalion chief for Florida’s Boynton Beach Fire Department is a great example of progress.

Clemons, 41 and a former fire captain acknowledges her long, hard road to a leadership position.

“As a black woman, I’ve faced many adversities,” she tells the Sun Sentinel. “It is that adversity that has brought me this far. Becoming the first black woman to be promoted to battalion chief is significant for many reasons because it demonstrates that with hard work, dedication and perseverance anything is possible.”

Clemons enrolled in the fire academy in 1995. Upon completing the program, she went on to become the Boynton Beach Fire Department’s first black female firefighter.