When the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Extra Space Storage launched an internal listening campaign in 2020 called “Ask – Listen – Act,” one of the shared conversations among employees was the desire for more education. Since then, the committee has published multiple roundtable discussions covering topics like racial equality, inclusivity, and allyship. The committee has also recently launched Everyday Allyship, a training program aimed at helping employees use their influence for being an ally in the workplace.
June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of LGBTQ people as a social group. We spoke with Paty Portilla, Senior District Manager and chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Education subcommittee, about some simple ways Extra Space Storage employees can celebrate Pride.
Pride Month isn’t just about parades and celebrations. Historical timelines of the LGBTQ movement cover significant events of oppression, such as the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. Take some time this month to watch films or read books about the LBGTQ experience and history of Pride Month. Mainstream films like Milk and Love, Simon can be an enjoyable and effective way to start a first-time discussion among friends and family.
Understand the Importance of Pronouns
Proper use of pronouns and gender identity terms is the first step to signal respect for someone’s identity and create a more welcoming space for everyone. You may notice that people are becoming more attentive to sharing their pronouns in introductions, on name tags, and in email signatures. In an instance where a pronoun is not indicated or unknown, gender-neutral pronouns like they/them can be a useful option. NPR recently released A Guide to Gender Identity Terms with the goal of helping people communicate accurately and respectfully.
Support LGBTQ Businesses
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ-owned businesses. They partner with local chambers in the U.S. and worldwide to provide LGBTQ-owned businesses with support and resources. You can find local events and businesses to support in your city through their list of affiliate chambers.
Volunteer or Donate to LGBTQ Causes
Organizations like The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD do vital work to help prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth, hate crimes, and other actions of inequality toward marginalized groups. They offer many ways to get involved at a local and national level through financial support and volunteer work. Most large and mid-sized cities also have local LGBTQ community centers with volunteer programs.
Attend a Pride Parade
Most Pride parades and festivals across the U.S. happen in June. You don’t need to identify as LGBTQ to attend a parade. Everyone is welcome to show their support of equality for all. Check out what’s happening in your community and join in the fun!
Fly a Pride Flag
Gilbert Baker’s six-stripe design of the rainbow flag from 1979 became the international symbol of Pride. Since then, variations of the original design have emerged to be even more inclusive. Flying a Pride flag from your home, office, or business is a simple but powerful way to show support and allyship for your LGBTQ neighbors. Don’t have a flag? Get creative and jazz up your June wardrobe with colorful shoelaces, accessories, or clothing.
Make Space for Everyone
It may seem like a basic principle, but it’s worth remembering to make space for everyone. Pride Month serves as an opportunity to be more inclusive, but it shouldn’t stop once the month is over. It’s always the right time to focus on diversity and inclusion, and there’s always more we can do in our communities and workplaces to create a safe and celebratory space for all.