Considering the fact that we're in the middle of a global pandemic that is particularly uncontrolled in the U.S., this year's Halloween was certainly unusual. Many families and communities skipped trick-or-treating in favor of alternative fun and festivity. Those who did trick-or-treat often had altered methods, from candy chutes to keep social distance to leaving bags of candy out on a table for the kiddos.

For the Thomas family in Atlanta, Georgia, this Halloween was particularly unusual. Courtney Thomas shared a post on Facebook saying that she had put out a sign on Halloween explaining that their household had a child with cancer, so they wouldn't be giving out candy. Their neighborhood usually gets a lot of trick-or-treaters and she didn't want kids to come to their door and be disappointed.

"Cool costume!" the sign read. "Sorry, no candy, child with cancer. See you next year! Have fun!"

But what Thomas found left beneath the sign left her in tears.

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Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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