KSLA Salutes: A fight for equality

Ryan Mitchell spent four years in the United States Air Force.
Ryan Mitchell spent four years in the United States Air Force.(KSLA)
Updated: Jul. 9, 2020 at 8:56 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Ryan Williams, a Grambling graduate, spent his first four years out of college serving in the United States Air Force.

“One of the best decisions I ever made,” Williams said. “Anytime that you want to sacrifice yourself or sacrifice who you are, because you have to give up something in order to get something and that’s what my service was about when I was in the Air Force.”

Williams was stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, where he worked on and maintained E-15E Strike Eagles.

After his service, Williams says there was nowhere he could see himself other than Shreveport.

“When you get out of the military, they have this thing called a home of record,” Williams said. “I chose Shreveport on purpose. A lot of my friends asked why I wanted to come back, why I wanted to move back here. That I would be so much more valuable in a Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta. I just felt like coming home was the best thing I could do. Not just for myself, but for the people that had given and poured so much into me. Being here in Shreveport is a gift. It’s a gift. Not everybody will tell it like that, but I do. I look at it like that because I am around the people that groomed me, I’m around the people who put so much into me. I have so much to give to this city. That’s why I wanted to be home. After my service I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world and I’m happy I’m here.”

Williams says he will never regret serving his country, but acknowledges that the changes happening across the nation have been a long time coming.

”I think that America is a great country, with it’s stains and all,” Williams said. “I’ve always wanted to serve our country. I’ve gained so much from this country so why not give something back. What is happening in our country is what i call a Renaissance, where America is finally recognizing it’s past. African Americans were not always treated with respect and we aren’t always looked at as human beings and people. Could you imagine serving a country and willing to die for that country, only to come home and be treated less than a man?”

Williams encourages his fellow Americans to look beyond their beliefs and to listen to those whose voices need to be heard.

“The only thing I am asking people to do is to push back their prejudices and their ignorance and look a little deeper into yourself and those that are around you,” Williams said. “Think about how people like myself have sacrificed for this country, given all that we have, and still feel less than. Looking forward, people need to look at their own issues and problems and ask themselves how can I or what can I do to make sure that we are all equal and all getting a fair share.”

Williams is now working as the CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management in Shreveport.

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