Publisher’s Note: Winter 2020
As the circumstances of 2020 unfolded, longstanding structural inequalities were yet again unmasked as they exacerbated disparities experienced in healthcare, education, food security and economic well-being for BIPOC and other historically disenfranchised communities. In response, we, like many other small organizations, had to pause, pivot and then press the accelerator on moving forward with a renewed sense of purpose.
In the process, we discovered there were places we needed to change our perspective, associations and actions in order to truly deliver on our mission. While engaged in amplifying Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, we noticed additional opportunities to support our collective progress and prosperity. We will not engage in efforts that we feel effectively preserve the status quo, answer the challenges of our time with the equivalent of a perfunctory nod or succumb to the temptation of moral licensing.
During 2020, the Business Equality Network and BEQ Pride magazine pressed pause on business as usual. We watched and listened and participated in conversations with those facing economic hardships, witnessing chaos from the frontlines of a raging pandemic and suffering in isolation and fear.
Our collective reckoning with the dark side of American history and structural inequalities revealed as a publication we could meet the moment by:
- aligning our endorsements, recognitions and awards to impact
- promoting talent from the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, other historically disenfranchised community on a regular basis
- assisting small diverse-owned businesses with visibility and messaging
- growing our local and regional partnerships with mission aligned organizations
- activating our voice
2021 requires our renewed commitment to Inclusion and Belonging backed by our willingness to dismantle the virulence of racism, sexism, homophobia, dis/ableism, ageism, classism, religious intolerance and xenophobia especially within business.
Our cover feature, with Showtime’s Lolita Morrow, celebrates the value of diverse talent and her willingness to build her “own d*mn tables”. As a mother, corporate executive, pilot, wedding officiant, stand-up comic and author, she shares her unique brand of being out and authentic in life and in business.
We also have an invitation for companies to share their evidence of eminence by applying for the 2021 Corporate Eminence Award with new questions aligned to impact. For 2021, the Corporate Eminence Award will include naming an individual corporate leader who is committed to and demonstrates the organization’s impact on Inclusion and Belonging in business.
We are also excited to profile John Sotomayor and Embrace magazine. Besides the beauty of each page of the magazine, John Sotomayor created a regional publication that presents stories of gay and straight people and their communities coming together to live, work, play and pray. Based in Ocala, Florida, this new publication recently won nine First Place awards from the Florida Press Club for Excellence in Journalism. Later in 2021, Embrace and BEQ Pride will be partnering on strategic content and an awards opportunity for a Florida LGBTQ+ owned business.
JPMorgan Chase & Company, one of the corporate founding partners of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), has a long history of recognizing the value of inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and the communities they serve. Both associate counsel Joanna Bratt and managing director Larry Holodak are part of their LGBT+ Executive Council addressing the needs and issues of the LGBT community from the top. During Pride 2020, the council invited the co-chairs of the firm’s Black Executive Forum to join a panel discussion and provide a new perspective on intersectionality — what it means to bring your authentic self to work — from a Black perspective. The council is uniquely suited to facilitate broader and deeper discussions about Inclusion — next level stuff.
We continue our New Year’s tradition with the fourth annual BEQ Pride 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 list. The Class of 2021 reflects the best and brightest leaders from the United States and Canada, California to New York, Texas to Montréal and all stops between. This leader cohort includes elected officials, published authors, a classic physique bodybuilder, an award-winning swimmer, musicians, lounge owners, artists, activists, business owners and more. Their amazing talent, innovation, passion and courage are beacons during one of the darkest periods in our history.
Finally, we are excited to share the voice and perspective of Vaughn Farris. Farris is a Southern California-based consultant and fervent advocate of equality and inclusion. In this perspective, he speaks to the lesson and example of President-elect Joe Biden in how to truly embrace inclusion in his running mate, cabinet nominations and beyond.
2021 promises to be an opportunity for bold leadership and we at BEQ Pride and the Business Equality Network will rise to the occasion.
Yours in hope for a brighter future,