Every year, in June, we celebrate Pride Month, but to understand why it’s a celebration we should look to the roots. At the end of June, 1969, when many laws against homosexuality still existed, the New York City Police raided a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, The Stonewall Inn. While this wasn’t, unfortunately, an uncommon practice of police to harass the queer community, on June 28th the patrons fought back and protested for several days. While referred to as the Stonewall Riots, it was a positive turning point for the gay community and things would never be the same. Today, Pride month celebrates the progress our nation has made since 1969, but it’s also a time to honor the contributions that LGBTQA activism has implemented through the years. While progress has been made, there is always room for improvement in the quest for equality and inclusion.
While we all have different perspectives and interactions with the people around us, we should ensure it is a place we can all experience acceptance. When we look to our past and try to learn from it, there are areas we can educate ourselves to make inclusivity a way of life. You have heard the phrase, “there is more than one way to do a task,” and there is more than one way to celebrate pride month and advance. If you are gay, queer, an ally, or heterosexual, you have a place. Takes steps to educate yourself and be aware of how others recognize their beliefs and values. Within a company, you have a community you can nurture. You are not going to be the same, nor should you be. You want to enrich your understanding to take ideas and interpretations to culminate the best possible result for company success.
Inclusivity is a broad term that ultimately means to include and provide a sense of belonging. In the workplace, this is more than a policy. This is a company-wide endeavor to implement practices and processes that ensure different groups of varying backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed, and have equal treatment. The ability to interact effectively with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives is increasingly important in today’s multicultural, multigenerational work environment. Your co-workers are diverse, your customers are diverse. Understanding how to do this effectively and in a culturally sensitive manner, is just the right thing to do in our world today, not to mention, there are laws that require anti-harassment, anti-discrimination as well as hate crime laws that also require acceptance of others that are different than yourself. We live in a world in which there are a myriad of different cultures that inform the beliefs and behaviors of others. These are your customers and being able to be culturally aware and curious, exploring and being aware of your own cultural bias and stereotypes, is the first step in learning to be culturally sensitive; inclusive. The most important thing when it comes to acting in a culturally sensitive way is that you remember to ground each interaction you have with others in the understanding that their background, experiences, and values naturally vary from your own. This will help you to lead with understanding and empathy, rather than judgment, which is an incredibly important shift. So whether you are celebrating Pride month or looking for ways to be culturally sensitive and inclusive, enjoy June and look ahead.
This is one month out of twelve and there are ways every month and every day to strive towards inclusion at work. For additional best practices and inclusive policies, contact our HR Consultants, they can help coach and train employees and leaders on building a more respectful and inclusive work environment. Or, give us a call at (800) 317-1378 X14.