Chris Piedmont, Senior Account Manager, FrazierHeiby
It all began with a moment: a brick thrown through a window — to shatter, once and for all, the closest doors of invisibility.
51 years ago this weekend at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, Black trans women and other people of color and LGBT individuals fought back against police brutality in a moment that launched a movement.
The first Pride marches, which eventually evolved into Pride month, began to commemorate the first anniversary of Stonewall.
At its core, Pride is not a parade — it is a protest that says loudly, “We Are Here. We are never going back into a closet. We are never going away.”
Today, Pride has returned to its roots — as a celebration, yes, but an ongoing march and protest for equity for all marginalized people.
While we celebrate wins like the Supreme Court’s recent ruling limiting LGBT workplace discrimination, the battle goes on. Just days before this landmark Supreme Court ruling, a new rule was initiated to roll back healthcare protections for LGBT individuals, which has the potential to immeasurably harm trans individuals. Too much progress must still happen, especially for queer Black, Indigenous and people of color.
As communicators, we have a unique ability to propel change in organizations. We are “advocate communicators” — advisors who help our clients stay true to their core values, while remaining clear-eyed on how corporate platforms can be used for the common good. After all, that’s the core of being a good corporate citizen.
In this moment, as advocate communicators we must remember:
- Stand in Solidarity: Our country is in the midst of a reckoning with the continued impact of systemic racism. Stand in solidarity with the Black community and take a hard look at company culture to address areas where anti-racist policies and efforts need to be put in place.
- Remember Actions Matter: The time for words and platitudes has passed. If you aren’t going to walk the walk, get out of the game. Organizations have to show — not just tell — how they are actively working to make change for marginalized communities within their organization. That goes beyond internal diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to actively advocating and supporting change within the communities where you operate.
- Reflect On Your Privilege — Then Use It: Privilege is a powerful tool in combating the forces of discrimination. Use your areas of privilege to advocate for the marginalized and push for change.
- Provide Space For Employees: Pride Month is a month of celebration and rededication to the continued fight for equity. But, it’s also a time when those same marginalized communities often find their rights decided by the Supreme Court. Provide space for employees to process what’s happening — good and bad. Not just this month, but always.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, in one fell swoop or in one moment. It’s an ongoing movement that requires work — from all of us — each and every day. Communicators are at the core, so let’s get to work.
About the Author: Chris Piedmont is a senior account manager at FrazierHeiby. He joined the team hot off Pete Buttigieg’s history-making presidential campaign, and previously NYC-based agencies Hot Paper Lantern and Peppercomm. Chris brings the mind of an analyst paired with a passion for data, strategy and storytelling to connect with audiences.