Southwest Airlines® has proudly worked alongside the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) for more than 10 years in an effort to find the most innovative solutions for our supply chain needs. Because the NGLCC operates an extended network of 50-plus affiliate chambers across the country—and nearly every airport we fly to is in close proximity to one of those affiliate locations—Southwest has been able to further expand our reach in the communities we serve.
The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference is the largest LGBT business event on the planet. One of the highlights of the weeklong celebration of LGBT economic success is the “induction ceremony” for newly certified LGBT-owned businesses. The business owners introduce themselves and their services to the sold-out crowd of corporate buyers, government procurement leaders, and fellow entrepreneurs from around the world.
In addition, Southwest’s Supplier Diversity Program Leaders mentor NGLCC members and meet one-on-one with LGBT Business Enterprises at the NGLCC’s annual conference. The NGLCC began in 2002 when co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell realized that the impact of the LGBT community on the American economy had gone largely unnoticed, despite economic equality being an important component of the LGBT equality movement. The co-founders wanted to showcase that many members of the LGBT community are business owners, employers, taxpayers, health care providers, and an essential part of the U.S. economy’s small-business engine. Southwest is one of more than 200 corporate and government partners that have joined together to support the NGLCC.
To take our partnership one-step further, Southwest actively participates in both the NGLCC Procurement Council and the Corporate Advisory Council. Our participation in these councils has allowed us to engage in discussions on LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity, supplier trends, and promoting new opportunities among colleagues across all industry sectors. As part of its Supplier Diversity Initiative, the NGLCC offers LGBT Business Enterprise certification (LGBTBE) for qualifying businesses. Benefits of becoming a certified LGBTBE include building relationships with top corporations, generating prospective business, teaming up with fellow LGBTBEs for contracting opportunities, and receiving access to scholarship programs and leadership training.
To learn more about these opportunities, visit NGLCC.org.
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Southwest's Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher was bestowed with the signature “Red Jacket” of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) at the 45th National Convention in Indianapolis to recognize his new status as an honorary member of the organization. The Board of Directors of TAI unanimously voted Herb to have Honorary Membership in their organization.
Brig. Gen. Leon Johnson, USAF (Ret.) and National Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. President adorns Herb with the traditional “Red Jacket” at the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. 45th National Convention Youth Luncheon.
“Herb’s trail blazing efforts as the co-founder of Southwest Airlines and the Leadership he has shown, especially in the area of diversity and inclusion, are noteworthy. He, like the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, proved that with determination and resolve you can achieve success,” stated Brig. Gen. Leon Johnson, USAF (Ret.) and National Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. President.
Additionally, the National TAI President stated, “The Continuing the Legacy in Aviation program that Southwest Airlines hosts has opened the eyes of many youth to opportunities they had not imagined. That program and putting the TAI logo on the nose of a Southwest Airlines aircraft are examples of how Herb created a Culture at Southwest that leads by example.”
Southwest Airlines has had a long running partnership with the Tuskegee Airmen. Southwest serves as the organization’s Official Airline of the Tuskegee Airmen Youth Activities. Nine years ago, we joined forces to create the Southwest Airlines Continuing the Legacy in Aviation program. We wanted to pay appropriate homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, and we believed there was no better way to do that than ensure there would be more African American men and women in the skies and in the aviation industry for generations to come. This was an ambitious goal. We began with youth in middle or high school that had an interest in aviation, introduced them to pioneers and current employees in the industry, and encouraged them to follow their dreams, which could advance them from mentees to peers to co-workers.
Over nine years, Southwest Airlines has brought to our headquarter facility more than 100 youth of all races from across the country and from many of our African American community partnerships, who are interested in aviation careers. They have experienced a behind-the-scenes look at our operations, sat in our boardroom, experienced our training flight simulators and maintenance facility, and received mentoring by our Southwest Airlines pilots and Employees as well as the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTAs).
At the convention, many Southwest Airlines mentors and 14 out of more than 100 CTLA Alumni students reunited to meet with, thank, and share stories with the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen and Herb about how the youth of today are carrying out their legacy in the aviation industry.
Photo Caption: Just prior to Herb’s special recognition, the Southwest Airlines Continuing the Legacy in Aviation Alumni, took to the convention stage during the Youth Luncheon sponsored by Southwest Airlines, to share how the program impacted their lives and what aviation program they are currently enrolled in to advance their aviation journey.
The TAI 45th National Convention also served as the capstone event during a yearlong celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the start of the Tuskegee Experience. March 22, 2016 was the 75th Anniversary of the activation of the U.S. Army Air Corps 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first black combat aviation unit comprised of pilots, maintenance and support personnel trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field and other locations. For the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA), Herb’s presence was very memorable.
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It's certainly true at Southwest Airlines that “Without a Heart, it’s just a machine.” Twenty-four BWI Employees put their Heart into showing how they are more than just a 365-day operation.
The Southwest BWI Employees served up a heaping amount of Hospitality by hosting 13 aviation-curious students from the First Baptist Church of Glenarden (FBCG) Aviation Career Education Camp. The Maryland middle and high school students enjoyed a "Southwest Day" of hands-on learning with tours by various BWI departments including:
Provisioning where they saw all the items used to stock the planes and feed our Customers;
Cargo where they witnessed firsthand the processing of live gold fish and live crabs for Next Flight Guaranteed (NFG) shipping, as well as observing the K9 sniffing packages for hazardous materials
Pilot Base where they observed how pilots check in for flights;
Inflight Training where they actually sat in a training raft and learned about emergency preparedness;
T-Point where they toured three baggage processing areas and learned about international baggage processing versus domestic processing;
Customer Service where they learned about Customer flight check-in;
and the Command Center where they watched the entire BWI operation on monitors and heard the communication between the pilots and operation staff.
To add a cherry to the top of the visit, the BWI Station Leadership, Chief Pilots, and Maintenance spent a great deal of time answering questions about aviation and the Southwest operation from very curious and intrigued students.
In addition to the Southwest Day, the students met the FAA Director and U.S. Secretary of Transportation as well as visited the Potomac TRACON and Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center, Patuxent Naval Air Station, Washington Reagan National Air Traffic Control Tower, and flew Cessnas 172. The FBCG capped off the week with a cookout and thanked the BWI Employees for making a HUGE impact in the lives of these developing students.
In August, to make a positive difference for youth in Baltimore, BWI and Southwest Airlines HDQ Employees from various departments will host another Southwest Airlines day. Southwest has partnered with TSA, AirMall, Maryland Aviation Administration, and the city to host 60 students in a summer initiative camp. The students attend for one week and have been selected from five recreation centers that were located in the middle of the Baltimore civil unrest.
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Beginning October 13, Dallas Love Field is FREE! The restrictions of the Wright Amendment will be gone, ushering in nonstop destinations that span from coast to coast. Southwest has been counting down the years and weeks (literally—we have a billboard at the Love Field entrance and a countdown clock in our Headquarters lobby) until we can say, “Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!"
We are excited to begin this new era by serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2. The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.
In anticipation of this momentous event, each week we will take a look at one of the cities that North Texas Customers will be able to soon visit nonstop on Southwest. Each post is written by a Southwest Employee who is affiliated with the city and can give an insider’s view of what to see and do while visiting. Enjoy!
I’ve since moved away from Washington D.C., but I fondly remember running along the Potomac River and enjoying the Smithsonian museums and festivals on the weekend. Also, my family and I enjoyed packing a picnic lunch, sitting near the Potomac River on the grassy area with other families, and watching the planes take off and land at Reagan National. Now, we have the pleasure of watching the Southwest Airlines red belly planes fly over our heads, which makes the roar of the engines even more enjoyable.
In terms of daily departures, Washington D.C. has almost thirty, connecting ten cities. And I can’t wait for the Nonstop service from Dallas Love Field to start! I lived there for almost four years, so there’s lots I can recommend—her are some of my favorites.
Your Washington D.C. to-do list:
Busboy and Poets: This chic, hip, casual dining restaurant has character and offers vegetarian and vegan menu choices as well as an assortment of American food. They display art and host live streams of various performances, and the building also serves as a bookstore. Check out one of their locations for some good food and a late night Poetry Slam.
Red Velvet Cupcakery: Located near the Verizon Center at Penn Quarter, Red Velvet Cupcakery has been spotlighted on several media outlets for their delicious creations. Stop by for a cupcake—or two! It’s a quick treat, you won’t regret.
Bike and Running Trails: Washington D.C. hosts a bunch of great bike and running trails. I prefer to run the Smithsonian Mall, around the Nation’s Capital, but the views alongside the Potomac Gorge are beautiful as well. You can always find overlooks and picnic areas for pit stops, so you can enjoy the area and get a workout in!
Tidal Basin: See the Jefferson Memorial and surrounding scenery—like the delicate cherry trees—from the water! At a relatively reasonable price, the paddle boats are available to rent by the hour. Spend some time in the sun enjoying the Washington D.C. air!
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: Opened recently in perspective to other Washington D.C. Memorials, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is home to a larger-than-life statue of the memorial’s namesake. The beautiful MLK statue is definitely a must-see site on your visit.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: The FDR Memorial is a series of memorials with carved quotes and sculptures highlighting pieces of FDR’s history. Along with the MLK Memorial, the FDR is near the National Mall, an iconic site for our Nation.
My City Secret:
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage: Catch a free (no tickets required) performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Shows start every day at 6:00 p.m. (EST), and the Kennedy Center also offers other free events and exhibits.
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More than 60 years have passed since World War II ended. A war where great men and women sacrificed their lives, their spirits to provide us the freedom we enjoy today. A special group of men stood out from the crowd during this time; the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen are known as a group of young men who enlisted in World War II to become America's first African-American military airmen. Today, Southwest Airlines celebrates the Tuskegee Airmen legacy by sponsoring their 40 th Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. To further the celebration, four decorated WWII Heroes: Calvin Spann, Claude Platte, Robert McDaniel, and Homer Hogues will serve as “Honorary Pilots” with reserved seating in the first two rows on Southwest Airlines’ Dallas Flight #897 bound for Baltimore/Washington International (BWI.) Also, John Minor from our BWI Ground Operations and Hope Stevens from our Dallas Headquarters alongside a military and honor guard will welcome the Honorary Pilots as well as hundreds of Tuskegee Airmen and their spouses with refreshments at the BWI baggage claim area. The annual Tuskegee Airmen convention will take place during this week at the Gaylord National Harbor and Southwest Employees, including Pilots John Addison, Larry Jackson with Gordon Guillory, Curtis Atkins from the Maintenance Department, and Adriene Jones from BWI Ground Operations are volunteering their time to speak to 400 youth about their career path and answer questions. Student pilot with Cerebral Palsy, Tyrell Rhodes, will serve as Southwest Airlines’ guest speaker at the Youth Day and Gala. Additionally, Tyrell will share his past experience and officially kick off the Southwest Airlines’ Continuing the Legacy in Aviation to be held in Dallas, TX, November 2011. Southwest Airlines and many other supporters are pleased to celebrate with the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. at the 40 th Annual Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Convention and honor them for their courage and sacrifices to make this Country, the land of the free.
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In celebration of Black History Month, my Team, the Southwest Airlines Community Affairs & Grassroots Department sponsored The Washington Informer First Annual African American Heritage Tour in the District of Columbia. Nicole Watson and her family receive the grand prize from Karen. Two of the 600 participants took home the grand prize of two roundtrip Southwest Airline tickets for correctly answering trivia questions taken from the Black History Journal written by Robert Taylor. The Washington Informer is an African American and woman owned weekly newspaper established in 1964 with a mission to educate, empower and inform readers about the positive news in the Black community. Therefore, The Washington Informer does not cover crime news.
The three-hour tour was conducted by Capital Entertainment Services, an African American-owned tour and transportation company, located in DC. CES has received national recognition for its African American tours, which have been featured on travel shows and magazines across the country. Participants enjoyed a continental breakfast, catered lunch, a presentation by a Frederick Douglass animatron, a visit to the White House grounds, Frederick Douglass’ home, and Lincoln Park. For more info, click here for a video.
I think that education through various resources is a key component to empowerment. Southwest Airlines is proud to support this and other Washington Informer Charities events like the D.C. Spelling Bee, which helps students to be empowered through words.
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History is always in the making at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum located in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 1989, the Museum has been in the business of producing and exhibiting hundreds of African-American wax figures. Southwest Airlines has supported the Museum for six years as the Official Airline of the National Traveling Exhibit. The Southwest Cargo department, especially the Baltimore/Washington facility, is instrumental in the complimentary shipping of the wax figures to various conferences and events to support the vision of the Museum and to expand its reach into various communities. This year, Southwest Airlines will ship wax figures to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, Macy’s stores in several cities for Black History Month, the NAACP Convention in Los Angeles, and other places. “A primary motivation for establishing the Museum was to use education, history, and examples to help culturally disadvantaged youth overcome feelings of alienation, defeatism, and despair. Of the 200,000 people who visit the Museum each year, many are African-American children. The exposure to the Museum and its programs helps young people know more about their heritage and provides a greater understanding of the significant contributions to civilization by people of African descent, ” said Dr. Joanne Martin, CEO and Co-Founder of the Museum. Southwest Airlines is proud to be a supporter of “history in the making” just like the city of Baltimore, state of Maryland, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, who are also championing the Museum’s cause and expansion. Wax figures on display at Macy’s Department Store in San Francisco.
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Southwest Airlines is the Official Domestic Airline of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and our Community Affairs and Grassroots Department supports NFTE’s BizCamp and National Business Plan Competition and Annual Awards Gala. BizCamp is NFTE's two-week intensive summer program for students ages 13-18 who are interested in entrepreneurship. The day camp includes field trips and guest speakers focused on providing students with a comprehensive understanding of business. At the end of the camp, students compete for cash awards to fund their businesses. NFTE is headquartered in New York City with local offices in major U.S. and Southwest Airline cities and areas, including Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Fairfield City; CT; Westchester City, NY; Los Angeles; New England; Philadelphia; South Florida; and San Francisco. Since its founding, NFTE has reached over 280,000 young people from low-income communities. Currently, there are more than 1,500 active Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers. It was an honor to attend and meet many of the NFTE students at the Washington, D.C. NFTE Dare to Dream Making It in Business (Men In Black theme) event and the Baltimore Biz Plan Competition. At the Washington, DC NFTE event, Southwest Airlines surprised three NFTE Rookie Teachers of the Year each with one roundtrip airline ticket. At the Baltimore Biz Plan Competition, I enjoyed judging the business plans of four high school entrepreneurs. The first place winning student entrepreneur, Alexander Hobbs, CEO/President of Ezeey Breeze Air Fresheners, shared his passion for creating and selling organic, eco-friendly air fresheners targeted to pet owners and mothers whose children have allergies. Alexander graciously received a Southwest Airlines Travel Award (one Southwest Airlines roundtrip ticket). I can definitely say, “NFTE students are learning about operating the ins and outs of a business while exploring their dreams!”
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Our memories of Rosa Parks, the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, remind us that everyday is Black History. Rosa Parks was known as an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things. Recently, in Washington, D.C., I was invited by the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute to represent Southwest Airlines at the U.S. Capitol to celebrate what would have been Rosa Parks’ 97th birthday. Southwest Airlines and the Institute have had a special relationship for the past five years. Following her death, Southwest Airlines was very instrumental with providing an aircraft to transport Rosa Parks’ family, friends, and NAACP members to her homegoing services. At the birthday ceremony, I was especially inspired by the beautiful “Freedom Rose” named in honor of Rosa Parks that was given to the attendees and Congressional Members. The celebration and press conference included: Nevada Senator Harry Reid; Senators Debbie Stabenow and Roland Burris; Representatives John Conyers, Carolyn Kilpatrick, and Jesse Jackson, Jr.; and Elaine Steele, Co-Founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute. The ceremony was very moving and a perfect way to kick off Black History Month. The following are some of the special sentiments expressed by our Congressional Members. “Rosa Parks personified an entire generation of African-Americans who, like her, decided they simply had had enough,” said Nevada Senator Harry Reid. “Her courage put a human face on the effect of Jim Crow laws in the South and her principled protest is as important an act to the cause of civil rights as any single act that we’ve ever known. Her impact on American history can never be overstated, and it should never be overlooked.” Senator Stabenow said: “Rosa Parks is a civil rights icon. Her contributions to the progress of our nation will not be forgotten. I am proud that she called Michigan home, and it was my privilege to lead the charge with Congresswoman Kilpatrick to name the Detroit Homeland Security building in honor of Rosa Parks. I will continue to honor her place in our nation’s history and to push for a statue of Rosa Parks in our nation’s Capitol.” “Black History Month is a time in which we celebrate the often extraordinary contributions and sacrifices African-Americans have made to our shared American experience,” said Senator Burris. “As we come together to honor Rosa Parks on the 97th anniversary of her birth, we remember her quiet dignity, uncommon grace, and defiant courage. More than half a century later, we have seen how Rosa Parks’ simple, yet powerful assertion of her equality has rippled through history, and led to remarkable strides for civil rights as we continue our long journey toward what our nation’s founders called a more perfect union.” Congressman Conyers said: “Rosa Parks was a humble, resolute, near saint-like woman who believed strongly in the constitutional principles of equality and freedom. Those qualities and beliefs moved her to take a stand on December 1, 1955, marking the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement. It is an honor and a privilege to commemorate Rosa Parks-- the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement--and her life’s work on what would have been her 97th birthday.” “Mrs. Rosa Parks transformed the country with her quiet strength and determination,” said Congresswoman Kilpatrick. “Her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, her commitment to change, and her compassion for young people should always be remembered. I am humbled to be recognized for my efforts to remember her life and legacy. This is truly an honor I will always cherish. She will always be my role model.” Congressman Jackson said: “I'm honored to join with my colleagues to celebrate the life of Rosa Parks. Her quiet courage helped America renew its founding promise and principle -- of liberty and justice for all. On this her 97th Birthday, may we keep her memory and legacy alive -- to struggle for freedom, to strive for justice and to perfect our Union.” The Crew of the flight carrying Ms. Parks to her final resting place included fellow blogger Captain Lou Freeman (center), Captain Richard Turner (L), and First Officer Trevor Hinton (R) .
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Recently, I overheard the comment…it’s not about BEING perfect, but about BECOMING excellent. Reflecting on the comment, I am awed by the potential possibilities inherent in “becoming excellent.” Just imagine, this philosophy enables one to create a personal journey path that focuses on passion, opportunity, and initiative. As I thought about persons who created a life of excellence, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., quickly came to mind. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership represented and exuded excellence. With a commitment to excellence and a passion for education, economic equity, and equality, Dr. King forged a journey path that has inspired people all over the world. On becoming excellent, Dr. King expressed the following three sentiments: The first quote came from a 1956 speech in Montgomery, Alabama: “Sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’” In another inspiring quote, Dr. King stated: “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Similarly, Dr. King’s uplifting words stated, “Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” I love Dr. King’s thought provoking words because they inspire and motivate me to be more than average, more than mediocre, and not complacent, but EXCELLENT in all I do. Dr King’s philosophies were relevant in the 1950s and are pertinent today. So, how does one become excellent as Dr. King might suggest? I am sure there are many classes, seminars, and books that can teach and guide us. In fact, one book I am reading right now is called An Attitude of Excellence by Willie Jolley. My personal prescription to “becoming excellent” is threefold: walk in someone else’s shoes, look through someone else’s lens, and help others to achieve their goals. Several years ago, I participated in the Southwest Airlines’ Walk-A-Mile program. This program gave Employees from one department the opportunity to spend a few hours in another department to learn about a fellow Employee’s daily activities and job responsibilities. I spent several hours at our Maintenance Facility learning how to change an airplane tire and check the oil. The experience was far more than learning the intricate mechanical techniques, as I became more sensitive, understanding, and appreciative of the work my Coworkers do to keep the Company operating. While, I experienced first hand the work our Southwest Airlines Maintenance Department does, I also became more aware of their far-reaching commitment, enthusiasm, and care to provide excellent service to our passengers and Southwest Airline communities. Much like Dr. King preached, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." My point is that EXCELLENCE should be part of our daily lives at home, work, church, and our community. Dr. King’s philosophies remind me of this. Dr. King challenged us years ago to answer the following question on the journey to become EXCELLENT. “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. How would you answer Dr. King’s question?
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Hurricane threats, thunderstorms, nor rain on game day can't keep Southwest Airlines away from the Prince George's Classic in Maryland for the last four years. Can you believe it has rained for the past three years? But, this year's forecast was perfect -- sunny and in the 80s. The Prince George's Classic is a one-stop, educational, and cultural extravaganza. The Classic supports seven local high schools with the Battle of the Marching Bands, which is one of my favorite, family events. I enjoy seeing the disciplined musical students dance and perform. In fact, all of the seven distinguished bands have traveled across the country to perform. One of the bands, Oxon Hill Marching Band, is even honored to be selected to perform at the 2008 Olympics in China. What a privilege!
The Classic includes following events: a golf tournament that supports a local charity; the college fair, step show, and football game that supports many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); a high energy, dazzling fashion show featuring top designers; and the Prince George's Black Chamber of Commerce Kick-off Reception attended by CEOs and politicians. Congressman Albert Wynn (D-MD) is a dedicated supporter, and you can always count on seeing him at the events inspite of his busy schedule.
Southwest Airlines was pleased to once again support the Annual Prince George's Classic as the Official Airline. Since the Classic's inception in 2003, Southwest Airlines' Corporate Community Affairs Department has supported this cultural extravaganza, which is the vision of Mike Little, National Black Chamber of Commerce Chairman, business owner, and President of the Classic. The vision of the Southwest Airlines Corporate Community Affairs Team is to build strategic relationships across the country focusing on the Hispanic, African American, and Asian communities. Our target areas are business, legislative, and education.
For the past four years and to further support education, Southwest Airlines has partnered with Bowie State University American Marketing Association students to conduct a marketing research project on the Classic. The students compile information collected from the football fans on game day and present their findings later in the year.
Well, it certainly is tradition that HBCU football classics are a part of Southwest Airlines' history. So, hopefully, the tradition and history will continue to dazzle football fans as they enjoy a good competitive game and the best part of them all-- the Battle of the Bands.
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