No Pride Without Equity

It’s June, which means many of us are celebrating Pride Month; and while many view Pride as a month of joy and jubilation, it is important to remember that Pride is more than that; is it is a time to pause, reflect and acknowledge the progress that the LGBTQ+ community has made, the trailblazers who brought us here, the individuals we lost along the way, the progress yet to be made, and the journey ahead to a greater, more equitable future for all.

Equity – that’s something I don’t think people speak often enough about. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at APCO means justice for all – not just one group, not just one identity. Over the last year, as the world has grappled with a social and racial justice movement unlike anything we’ve seen since the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, hard conversations have been had, biases have been confronted and communities have been mobilized to challenge the status quo and accelerate what’s right to ensure that tomorrow is better than today. However, amidst all of this, the meaning of DEI, of justice, of equality – it’s all been blended together in blanket statements that I fear are being watered down.

As we celebrate PRIDE and continue on the journey of relearning, unlearning and consciously listening – it is important to underscore that there is no pride without equity, there is no freedom without equity and there is no change without equity. You might be asking, what’s the difference between equity and equality? There are many resources available that explain the difference, but in short: equality assumes that giving every individual the same opportunity would lead to the same, equal outcome; while equity addresses the wholistic picture and the barriers people face and offers solutions and opportunities tailored to achieve equal outcomes.

Equality is making a video, public restroom or building available to all; equity is making publishing the video and adding closed captioning for those with hearing loss; equity is providing access ramps at entrances, convenient parking and accommodating sidewalks, so those in wheelchairs can easily enter and leave the building.

Equity is the notion of “leveling the playing field” so that fairness happens along the journey to success. Equality treats everyone the same without paying attention to the inherent and natural differences between people of varying race, gender, class or sexual orientation. This is a conversation we must keep having.

My ask is that as you carry on throughout your days—when June comes to a close and rainbows aren’t blanketed across brand channels to remind you that Pride is upon us—take a moment to ponder and consider equity at every crossroads you encounter, and considering any of these questions:

  • What more should be done to advance LGBTQ equality?
  • What role(s) can I play to address LGBTQ progress and equity?
  • What don’t I understand about the LGBTQ community and how can I come to better understand?
  • What does it mean to be an ally?

It has been said that we transform ourselves to transform our society. For Pride and beyond, take the time to understand the journey of another human individual and let’s work together and do all we can to transform ourselves to help create more equitable outcomes for all, including our LGBTQ+ family, and to better understand the challenges people face so we can look back on our time here together and feel Pride in our action and transform our society.