Navy’s highest ranking Black female officer celebrates strides in diversity and inclusion

Memorial Day is a time to mourn soldiers who’ve died in the line of duty, but it’s also a time to reflect on how this moment in history is currently impacting military personnel. One local officer is working to bring more diversity and inclusion into the U.S. Navy.

Captain Timika (Timi) Lindsay is currently the highest ranking African American woman in the Navy. She is the Chief Diversity Officer and the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Captain Timika (Timi) Lindsay in yearbook photo from 1992. (Courtesy photo)

As the 1992 Naval Academy graduate wraps up her military career ahead of her retirement on July 1, she said she’s very proud of some of the initiatives that came out of the murder of George Floyd; one is the Midshipman Diversity Team.

“They were looking at ways to have their voices heard when they looked into the curriculum to see what they could do to have more diversity in what’s being taught, specifically in the humanities and social sciences and also in our leadership courses,” Lindsay said.

Then, she said she was pleased when the faculty got involved in talking to students about how more diversity could be brought into the STEM courses.

They also developed a diversity peer educator program, a peer led program that is a walking safe space among the 30 companies and 33 athletic teams on campus.

Lindsay said the goal of the initiative is to be that voice if someone is concerned about an incident or wants to share ideas.

Also after the death of Floyd, Lindsay was hand-picked last year by service leaders to be on Task Force One Navy.

Captain Lindsay (center) with her daughter Elise (right) and son Eric, who are both attending the U.S. Naval Academy. (Courtesy photo)

“The group looked into policies and procedures that intentionally or unintentionally disparage a race or gender,” Lindsay said, and came up with 60 recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion in the Navy.

Even though she’s seen this before in her 30 years of service, “For some reason, this one feels different.”

The recommendations from the 142 page report are being reviewed by the Culture of Excellence board and decisions will be make on how to implement the recommendations.

The Paulsboro, New Jersey, native is a mother of two.

Lindsay and her daughter, Elise, are the first Black mother and daughter to attend the Naval Academy. Her daughter is entering her third year and her son, Eric, will be entering his plebe year this summer.

She received her Master’s degree in Information Technology Management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a Master’s in Military Operational Arts and Science/Studies from Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia.

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