Back in 1999, then President Bill Clinton officially declared June as “Pride Month.” We could successfully argue that it was overdue given how long the LGBTQ community had been fighting for awareness, respect and equality. Then, in 2017, black and brown stripes were added to the rainbow flag to call attention to the people of color within the community and to further expand our thinking around diversity and inclusion. Since then, the flag has been proudly waved around the world.
The Evolution of Pride Month: Progress and Room for Growth
Here we are, about two decades later, and much has changed. Yet, the changes haven’t been substantial enough. There is plenty of room to grow.
2020 began as a new decade, full of promise, celebrated around the globe with extravagant festivities. But something insidious was brewing. And it wasn’t just a spiky virus with nefarious intentions of taking the world out at its knees. It was the elephant in the room – racism – as intolerable as it ever was, festering and growing with every negative political speech, offside joke and senseless act of violence.
The Intersection of Racism and Diversity: George Floyd’s Death and Beyond
Unequivocally, the murder of George Floyd was just that – murder. Had there been a rapid exchange of gunfire, the line may have been blurred. However, in George’s case, the line was not blurred, it was definitively and deliberately crossed. All of us here are maddened and saddened by his death. The silver lining is that George’s death may be that inextinguishable beacon that has finally put the spotlight on racism in America.
There is no denying the existence of the elephant. It’s large. It’s real. And there is no turning back.
Moving Beyond Labels: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
Together, we must think more broadly about diversity and inclusion. What does it mean to each of us and what will we do differently to be more inclusive? Disability, ethnicity, politics, religion, cognitive impairment, social dysfunction and so on. Each of us can be categorized and labeled. The question we should be asking ourselves is, why is there a label at all?
People are people. Developing strong interpersonal skills is crucial in treating each other with respect and kindness. We should practice active listening to each other’s stories to learn from them. Then adapt our own behaviors and thinking so that we can feel heightened sensitivity, empathy and hence be in a better position to offer support.
Change starts with one step. Then another. Then another one after that.
Being Part of the Change: STEERus’ Commitment to Diversity and Support
Here at STEERus, we want to be part of the change. That’s why we modified our logo; as a public symbol of the community that we represent and want to be an active part of. We want to listen, learn and support. And we want to grow in the right direction. We are seeking people who believe in helping others, regardless of differences. If you want to be part of the change, contact us to ask how you can be.