Connect with us

Seeing Butterflies

It took 150 years, but Philly’s fire dept. now has a Black woman battalion chief

Black Women in History

It took 150 years, but Philly’s fire dept. now has a Black woman battalion chief

By Michaela Winberg via

Mt. Airy native Lisa Forrest is also a mom and community leader. “Keys to the city, baby,” said a cousin. “She’s just getting started.

A hundred and forty-nine years after it was founded, the Philadelphia Fire Department has its first Black woman battalion chief. Formerly Captain Lisa Forrest, she took the oath of office and put on her new uniform for the first time Tuesday, joined by dozens of family members and friends.

“Although I’m the first, I am looking forward to more coming behind me,” Forrest said. “This is the start of some more to come. That’s what today is.”

Of the roughly 70 battalion chiefs in Philly, Forrest is only the third woman. The department is 12% women overall, per spokesperson Kathy Matheson.

“I’m almost speechless to be a part of such a historic day,” said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. Forrest earned the promotion, he continued, “not just with her leadership in the field, but also…in the community.”

Forrest has a decorated history with the department. The 39-year-old Mount Airy native graduated from the Fire Academy in 2003. Ten years later, she became the first Black woman…

Read More: It took 150 years, but Philly’s fire dept. now has a Black woman battalion chief

Continue Reading
You may also like...

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in Black Women in History

What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

Flying High

To Top