Fifty-three years ago, on June 28th, The Stonewall riots occurred as spontaneous protests by members of the gay community in response to the police raids at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City. The riots changed the course of history, indeed catalyzed the gay rights movement, and originated various gay activist groups worldwide. What started as a day to honor the brave individuals who stood up and protested for equality in 1969 is now a global celebration during the entire month of June.
Celebrating Diversity is Entering Mainstream
You will find your share of rainbows if you roam around social media. Nonetheless, even though it has become commercialized, mainstreaming the LGBTQ+ symbols and showing community support is a notable sign of progress. Can you imagine in 1969, corporations around the globe overtly marketing to same-sex couples in celebration? Seeing that society is finally losing the fear of people being different and expanding acceptance of greater diversity is fantastic. That bit of progress notwithstanding, it's gratifying that Hanzo is showing its support in meaningful and tangible ways.
Of course, this Pride, Team Hanzo, too, showed our rainbow colors. We wanted to be visible in supporting the LGBTQ+ community and helping to promote awareness. But we also felt it was essential to take more concrete steps culturally. We dedicated time as a team to learning about American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson in the documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was an outspoken advocate for gay rights and was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. We discussed this notable figure and the documentary as part of the Hanzo movie club to make it accessible for all Hanzonians.
Additionally, we celebrated with a Pride lunch where each global team member was encouraged to buy lunch on Hanzo at an LGBTQ+-owned restaurant. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about local LGBTQ+ community members, pay it forward, and show tangible support.
Hanzonians Share What Pride Means To Them
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental company goals for developing a work culture where people feel safe to be themselves. This month we heard from Hanzo team members regarding what Pride means to them.
"To me, Pride means a celebration of everyone's uniqueness and authenticity. It's a time to celebrate acceptance, truth, self-identity & love. My favorite thing about Pride is how it builds an awesome community that shouts it's okay and SAFE to be you!!"
"Pride is reminding yourself and others that when all people are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."
When I think about Pride, I think about how it declares Pride for every kind of diversity that exists today or will exist in the future. It is important to remember that black trans women played a major role in sparking Pride with the Stonewall Riots, a response to police brutality against queer people, people of colour, trans people, and drag queens. These victims of police assault had had enough of being terrorised for being different. Pride for me is a declaration which states: "No matter who you are, you should never be treated badly for being different."
"Pride is a chance to celebrate the varied and wonderful spectrum of ways people express love and attraction, particularly those that may not be as visible or neatly fit into categories. To me, being queer is about defying definitions!"
"Pride means to me that the freedom to be your authentic self is winning the hearts and minds of everyday people, which is an excellent step toward progress."
"Pride month is always a great reminder each year to reflect back on the long journey that many of our friends have faced just to feel comfortable in being their authentic selves, and not some version of themselves that society (of whatever era) dictated was the "norm." I like to take the time to not just reflect but to take pride in our accomplishments, our work, our team, our families, our company but most importantly take pride in ourselves."
"Pride is an important time to celebrate our strides as a community regarding equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people. Although there is still work to be done, I am so thankful that the landscape for our rights and acceptance has changed dramatically over the past years. As a gay-identifying Latino male, it was challenging and sometimes shameful being my authentic self growing up."
Love, freedom, safety, authenticity, pride, and diversity are significant themes we see in what Pride means to many Hanzonians. By celebrating Pride, our society is striving toward a better and more inclusive world.
Happy Pride to all!