From workshops on allyship to welcoming the world-famous Tik Tok star Mercury Stardust (the Trans Handy Ma’am!), Newfront had a packed agenda to honor Pride. Hosted by our company’s emerge Employee Resource Group (ERG), June’s activities focused on offering time to reflect and remember, encouraging support for important causes, educating those around us, and most importantly, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month Recap
Team Member Spotlights: For the first time ever, we interviewed Newfront team members of the LGBTQ+ community and championed them on our social media networks to increase representation, challenge expectations, and champion inclusivity. Meet Certificates Operations Associate Christopher Mejia, P&C Managing Senior Account Manager Jenn Meimerstorf, Vice President and Retirement Plan Advisor Jeremy Stoker, Executive Vice President and Regional Managing Director Linde Hotchkiss, and emerge Founder and Newfront CIO Brent Rineck, who we honored posthumously. Authenticity rang through each quote along with expressions of the importance of being supported by their Newfront family.
Workshops: Hosting workshops is essential to ensure the LGBTQ+ members of our team feel safe at Newfront. Since we’re building a community of allies, we wanted to provide content that would help educate and raise awareness on several topics.
- Blurred Lines: How to Navigate the Fluid Boundaries of Gender. In Blurred Lines we addressed the “blurred lines” around gender that can cause confusion and awkward situations in the workplace. Attendees discussed gender identities and simple language that can be used to build awareness and minimize unconscious bias. The workshop helped educate us while bringing focus around the issues and steps each of us can take to address this growing concern.
- Over the Rainbow: Tools to Be An Authentic Ally. Over the Rainbow participants learned how to become advocates and allies towards the LGBTQ+ community, focusing on pronouns, inclusive language, and serving as an “upstander not bystander”.
Tik Tok Superstar: In addition to our workshops, we spent a morning with Tik Tok superstar Mercury Stardust – The Trans Handy Ma’am. Mercury was candid about personal experiences, shared experiences as an LGBTQ+ member in the workforce and in a traditionally male dominated industry, and she opened up space for Q&A. Newfront team members filled our session with questions and an overwhelming response of support and appreciation for her raw and honest conversation.
While the parades are over and the rainbows are fading from corporate logos until next year, Pride doesn’t stop in June. Support is vital year-round and change must come from within. That’s why, as a company, we recognize our differences and through our ERGs set the foundation to celebrate and value the differences of one another, so that we may all grow and succeed together.
Newfront pledges to keep the momentum going throughout the year. We are actively auditing our own policies, procedures, and benefit packages to submit our organization for the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index – hoping to gain 100% and qualify as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” This is the beginning of ensuring that Newfront is a top workplace for all team members, especially those most marginalized in our country.
Speaking of marginalization, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the recent SCOTUS ruling. Women around the country are grieving as reproductive health and safety rights have been lost.
With this brings fear of what’s to follow.
We are watching additional rulings that may follow. In a passage blasting jurisprudence around the 14th Amendment, Justice Clarence Thomas said abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected under the due process clause. Thomas expressly names cases that guaranteed the rights to contraception, same-sex relations, and marriage equality — Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), respectively — as being appropriate for the court to “reconsider” given they relied on similar reasoning. “We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents,” Thomas wrote.
We cannot be silent. It is time for action. emerge is here for all.
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