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Written by Guest Blogger, Ashley Schneck
Pride Month celebration
June has crept back on us which means we are welcoming summer but it is also a special time for the LGBTI community: Pride Month! June is dedicated to the LGBTI community to honor the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that took place in Manhattan. During that time police raids on bars hosting LGBTI patrons were very common but on June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Inn fought back. These riots are recognized as the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States which paved the way for the fight for equality. Pride Month is celebrated by parades, festivals, marches, parties, concerts, workshops, fundraisers, and educational speakers. It is also a time where memorials are held to remember those who have lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
Prepare to see a lot of color as the rainbow flag will be prominently displayed throughout the month. Each color on the rainbow flag has a meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony, and violet for spirit. You will see the flag displayed not only by individuals to show their pride and support but also by businesses who value diversity in the community and the workplace. Schneider Electric is one of those companies who place a huge value on diversity which is shown through our Diversity and Inclusion policy. The focus is to provide equal opportunities to everyone, to bring all unique backgrounds together, and to create a stronger, safer, and more inclusive workforce where employees feel valued and can contribute their best.
Be yourself at work
Having Schneider Electric make such a commitment to diversity and inclusion has really made me feel valued as an employee who is a part of the LGBTI community. One of the many reasons I love working here is that I feel completely comfortable to be myself at work. Schneider Electric launched a new LGBTI employee resource network (ERN) with four chapters in North America: West Kingston, Costa Mesa, Chicago, and Boston. I was afforded the opportunity to run the West Kingston chapter. The LGBTI WK chapter has a strong focus on promoting LGBTI knowledge, ally support, and community outreach to the LGBTI groups of RI. This group has allowed me to bring one of my passions to work and be able to coordinate with my fellow group members to give back to the community.
Our LGBTI ERN actively works with three LGBTI non-profit organizations in Rhode Island: Youth Pride RI, Aids Care Ocean State, and Rhode Island Pride.
- Youth Pride RI brings LGBTI youth together with programs free of charge including individual counseling, weekly discussion groups, leadership trainings, social events, and wellness activities. We hold food drives every quarter to help Youth Pride RI host their healthy meals free of charge that they provide for the youth group.
- Aids Care Ocean State is dedicated to providing quality housing, case management, medical and nursing care, and prevention to those at risk for HIV infection. We have supported their annual Aids Walk/Run For Life along with their monthly Drag Bingo events. We even sponsored a table in February for their Cosmic Love Drag Bingo event where we got a VIP table and I was able to call a game with the drag queens!
- Rhode Island Pride’s mission is to create opportunities for integrating and promotion visibility for the LGBTI community; promote equal rights and diversity through public education and the arts; provide safe opportunities and venues for people to come out with the ability to express and celebrate their sexual identities. This organization is one of the most active and visible groups in the New England region and hosts the only annual nighttime illuminated pride parade with Pride Fest taking part during the day.
Our WK LGBTI ERN was also excited to be a sponsor this year for Pride Fest 2018. We partnered with the West Kingston Employee Engagement Team (EET) to put on a Trivia Event at Whalers Brewing Company. Local businesses graciously donated swag and gift cards for us to raffle off. At the end of the night we were thrilled to announce that the event fundraised $850! With Schneider Electric’s match program for donations we were able to donate $1,700 to Rhode Island Pride. This donation secured Schneider Electric a booth at Pride Fest and also allows us to walk in the parade.
Pride Fest draws more than 75,000 people throughout the day allowing the company to market ourselves as one that places a high value on diversity. The potential to network with other businesses throughout Rhode Island is also very high as Pride Fest has over 180 company vendor tables registered. It is our hopes that this will increase Schneider Electric’s exposure not only to our offers and products but also for recruitment potential to continue to diversify and strengthen our workforce.
Here’s to the colorful celebration of love, diversity, acceptance, and unashamed self-pride!
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About the Author
Ashley Schneck is an Inside Strategic Account Manager. She currently works alongside an outside sales counterpart and a systems engineer to support eight strategic enterprise accounts. Her team provides solutions for their data centers and support for any of their questions or concerns that may come up.
She is also am very active in our LGBTI ERN in West Kingston. She currently is the President of EET (The Employee Engagement Team), the President of SchOUT, the Program Manager for Junior Achievement in the Community ImpACT ERN, and a member of Sustainable YOU.
Ashley is most passionate about the relationships she develops on a daily basis both internally and externally. She likes being able to offer assistance where and when needed to provide a smoother experience for both parties.