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Join Us for Untapped Talent: LGBTQ+ Community webinar

A note from One Iowa’s Executive Director Courtney Reyes.

Pride is unique to each individual person and is so much more than a rainbow flag. It is a time to celebrate each person and what they bring to the LGBTQ community. One of those folks is Jarrel Johnson.

Johnson is a 2020 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation fellow, graduate assistant, a Science Bound Ph.D. candidate, and a presidential scholar. He is also a graduate of One Iowa’s Leadership Institute. This is what he had to say about Pride.

“Pride is a special time in the year where I intentionally celebrate and reflect on the multiple identities I hold as a Black gay man. During pride month, I am reminded of the courageous and resilient nature of the LGBTQ community. I am especially grateful for the trans* women of color (Namely, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera) who risked their lives to resist discrimination and oppression they faced. It is because of their resistance that the LGBTQ community enjoys many of the freedoms we have today. Pride is also about remaining committed to improving the lived conditions of my fellow LGBTQ community members through advocacy, service, and leadership. In whole, I view pride as a time to honor the past, contribute to the present, and help to shape the future of the LGBTQ community.”

For me, Pride is the ultimate reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants. As Jarell mentioned, the transgender women of color, who led the charge at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 changed the path of history and without them, I could not be an out Queer person of color leading an organization. Pride is remembering our history, and it is also a time to celebrate being accepted for who you are and all of the work that goes into advocating for equality.

After walking in the joyful Pride parade last year, my almost 8-year-old child said, “I think I have figured out your work. You are just fighting for people to be treated the same.” That is Pride to me in its simplest form. A tiny bit of reprieve from the harmful anti-LGBTQ legislation, the homophobic and transphobic attacks, and always feeling a bit unsafe because you are in the LGBTQ community. Pride is a time to celebrate and gather with people who love you for who you are, to dance in the streets, and to build community. I use this time to fill me up, so I can keep fighting for equality all year long.

I hope you will join me, along with an incredible group of panelists, on June 25th to discuss tapping into the powerful LGBTQ community. You will learn tips on improving workplace culture, how to engage and retain LGBTQ employees, and policy changes that you can implement to start working towards an inclusive workplace culture.

Courtney Reyes
Executive Director | One Iowa