Why We’re Proud to Celebrate Pride
In celebration of Pride Month, we wanted to share why we celebrate Pride here at Canvas. Though June is an important time to really shine a light on the LGBTQ+ community, we also support these efforts 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
As a company, we have an opportunity to use our voice for good, and we understand how powerful it is for us to send a loud message to not only our employees, but our community as well. We are very grateful to be a subsidiary of Ford, who has fortunately made it commonplace to be LGBTQ+ supportive because they’ve built out efforts dedicated solely to LGBTQ+ initiatives.
At Canvas, participating in Pride will never mean profiting off of the community. We are here to support and contribute to the continued pursuit of true equality for all. We don’t want to just build tolerance, but we want to take every effort we can to foster a true understanding for the community and its members. Raising awareness and facilitating participation means so much to us because we are passionate about not only supplying a safe space, but providing a place where people feel like they can be free and be themselves.
Theo (our recruiting coordinator and LGBTQ+ community member) shared some of his thoughts on why it is important to him that Canvas participates in these initiatives.
“I grew up in a place where it’s acceptable, but I was still somewhat marginalized and always felt out of place both at work and home (to some extent). In SF and at Canvas, I always felt equal to everyone and there is not that ‘weirdness’ I felt when interacting with those who are accepting but not understanding. I strongly believe that this is due to the environment of acceptance here in the Bay Area which companies like Canvas help create. SF is great because of this, and I believe we are in a good place socially, however this does not mean we should cease our efforts - if anything, we should continue to be trailblazers.” - Theo
Canvas had a blast participating in San Francisco Pride last June. We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Pride this year too!
In addition to speaking with our employees about the importance of LGBTQ+ initiatives, we also had the chance to talk with Bill Peters about the LGBTQ+ community. Peters is not only a Ford employee, but he is also the chairperson of Ford GLOBE.
Can you tell us a little more about Ford GLOBE?
Ford GLOBE is the company’s employee resource group for its LGBT+ hourly, salary, subsidiary, retiree and agency employees and their allies. GLOBE participates in pride events across the world, volunteers with local LGBT+ agencies and strives to make every employee feel welcome, respected and empowered to pursue limitless career opportunities.
As a member of Ford GLOBE, we wear many hats. We advocate for LGBTQ employees, make people feel at ease, and do lunch and learns to educate. We also volunteer at several different places including the LGBT+ nonprofit community centers. GLOBE has 10 chapters with over 620 members that participate in many of these and other events.
What are some of the events you guys have participated in?
We recently held our biggest event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ford GLOBE in partnership with the Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce. About 350 attendees from Ford employees, Ford executives, LGBT community leaders, and local business partners and their families celebrated the milestone. The keynote speaker was NFL player and motivational speaker, Wade Davis, who shared his story centered around the use of words and how we should all be mindful. He also shared about the dual life of being an athlete vs. being who you really are. Davis tied it into bringing your whole self at work, which is something that Ford is striving to do: bringing your full self to work. He also referenced his website, nohomophobes.com, in his incredible keynote as well.
“Thursday, June 6, marked a historic moment not only for the local Michigan LGBTQ community but for the business community, too, as hundreds of prominent leaders from both groups joined to celebrate Ford GLOBE’s 25th anniversary. Ford GLOBE is Ford Motor Company’s LGBTQ employee resource group designed to unite, encourage networking among and generally service Ford’s LGBTQ employees (pridesource).”
At Ford, we also participated in Motor City Pride, the biggest Pride in Michigan, last week.
“Detroit looked markedly more colorful last weekend as it bustled with thousands of people clad in all manner of rainbow flags on their way to attend Motor City Pride 2019 in Hart Plaza. Host to over 50,000, the event featured performances by drag greats like Sabin and Ongina, showcased local artists like Tunde Olaniran and brought in nationally known musical acts like Greyson Chance. Vendor attendance was high, too. For the first time in the event’s history, Dave Wait, the chair of the festival’s planning committee, said that vendor booths were booked solid a month in advance (pridesource).”
What makes celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ+ community so important?
Sometimes media can really drive fear, and that fear still resides with a lot people. When people see what’s going on in the media, the choices for a lot of folks is to blend in or go to the extreme. I think it’s really important for us to really be able to connect with those folks and let them know it’s okay. For every negative story out there, there’s a positive story.
Thank you so much Theo for sharing your story and Bill Peters for sharing about Pride at Ford. Here at Canvas, we are so thankful to be a part of a family that not only supports the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrates Pride!
Please note, some of the answers were paraphrased for clarity.