NEW YORK — New York City firefighter Sean Parnell, 34, says he is thrilled to be the first black man to work at the agency he works for.
“I’m excited to be here, I love it, and I can’t wait to be working,” he told NBC News’ Katy Tur on Wednesday.
Parnell was one of 11 firefighters hired at the Fire Department of the City of New York last year.
He said he is excited to serve the community.
“My biggest fear is that this is the last time that this happens, that the black man gets hired,” he said.
“I hope that this continues to happen because I want to get back into the fire service.
I know that the white people are going to be in my shoes, and that’s OK, because it’s their job, and they deserve it.
They are good firefighters, but they need to be able to fight, and my job is to help the people.”
Parnill said he knows that the fire department is not immune to racism, and it can be tough to overcome.
“It’s hard for some people, I’m sorry to say, to look at me and see that, ‘Hey, we just got hired here.
It’s not the end of the world, I just got fired,'” he said, “but I know it’s a blessing that we have people who are willing to step forward and be the change that we need.”
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