Reckoning with Justice
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” – William Bruce Cameron (often attributed to Albert Einstein)
A true reckoning with justice requires the Herculean task of accounting for all the ways that many within society have been relegated to the margins. This issue of BEQ Pride aims at contributing to this reckoning by looking at justice from two, often intersecting angles: LGBTQ+/SGL equality in business and LGBTQ+/SGL leadership in the movement toward justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion – JEDI. Our writers, contributors, and guest editor all share, in their own way, what a commitment to this movement is built on and what it can look like moving forward.
But first, I want to share with you that we have changes on the horizon. Our inaugural editor, Melissa Lowery, is saying goodbye, at least for now. Melissa has been by my side since our first issue in 2016. We worked on similar projects previously, and I knew my ideas for an LGBTQ+/SGL business-focused publication and media enterprise needed a strong editor if we were ever going to be successful. We needed a risk-taker (albeit measured), someone with a get-it-done kind of attitude who could see the forest and the trees— that’s Melissa. From 2016 through 2021 she made it happen and represented BEQ Pride well. I am forever grateful for her service.
KJ Ward has so graciously taken on the task of editor for this issue. He is no stranger to BEQ Pride as he has been on our advisory board for several years. You’ll get to know him through three beautiful articles in the issue. KJ’s first piece previews conversations looking at the intersection of LGBTQ rights and BIPOC liberation – asking critical questions of thoughtful leaders in this space. KJ moves on to the entrepreneur pipeline with the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Youthpreneur program and their call for applicants. Finally, KJ takes us back in time to his days as director of Boston GLASS Community Center and describes how a project based on reflection gave rise to another one focused on the future.
George Kevin Jordan joins the voices of BEQ Pride with a closer look at culture and the role of theater in building an equitable future for a people trying to be heard, seen and respected. He begins enchanted with a song from Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent. When he finally sees the performance he realizes it’s the first time he had ever seen himself reflected on the stage of any production. It’s compelling. Spoiler alert, this is a setup for a series of conversations about the positive impact of theater and culture on creativity and innovation in business.
Ryann Brooks introduces us to DC-based Mason Dixie Foods’ Ayeshah Abuelhiga and Ross Perkins and their clean-label ready-to-bake line of frozen biscuits, rolls and scones. This woman, BIPOC, LGBT-led business has products in the freezer at over 5,000 grocery stores across the U.S., and this dynamic duo is unapologetic about inclusion. Read then follow me to the grocer for some of those biscuits.
Finally, Lynn Reyes and I apply the 1:9:90 rule of thumb to the Supplier Diversity Ecosystem in an attempt to understand the “new” now. When we discuss shared outcomes we see the diverse supplier ecosystem contributing to an inclusive growth engine for business; economic vitality; and new generative markets. But, somehow, these are not the outcomes that historically get counted when we try to measure the success of supplier diversity initiatives.
So, that brings me back to the Cameron/ Einstein quote about what counts. A full accounting of the injustices and blocked opportunities levied against marginalized groups won’t happen overnight. Let’s at least start with the things that really count and not stay mired in metrics that we’ve gotten used to but that, at best, don’t move us toward our shared outcomes or, at worst, actually set us back. Isn’t it time we level up?