MercuryNews.com

The city of Oakland, Calif., made history last week when it hired the first African-American woman as the fire chief of a major metropolitan area, according to Reuters. Teresa Deloach-Reed, 53, is slated to take control of the Oakland Fire Department in March, leading a group of 580.

"It's exciting," Deloach-Reed told Reuters in a telephone interview.

It is a historic day for both Oakland and Deloach-Reed, especially given the grim statistics regarding both female and black firefighters.

"There are still a lot of departments that don't have any women," said Deloach-Reed. "We still have a long way to go in regards to breaking down the doors."

As of 2010, less than 4 percent of U.S. firefighters were women, and just over 6 percent were black, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We wish Deloach-Reed all the best in her new position and hope her appointment opens the eyes of fire departments in other cities. The first step to being a change agent is making moves like the one the Oakland Fire Department made last week.

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Read more at Reuters.

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