“It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.” – Harvey Milk
I believe one of the best characteristics of the human race is the tremendous amount of diversity we possess as a species. Even if some of us look, sound, and appear similar, each has unique and specific traits that make us one of a kind—truly one in a billion.
However, I would argue one facet of life that almost every person shares is answering the question, “who am I?”
While the answer to this question may come early to some and much later to others, I think there is a point in our journey where we approach this crossroads. For some, answering this question is relatively simple—knowing exactly who they are with undeniable confidence and an unapologetic attitude. For others, “who am I?” is a convoluted question. It can be challenging to know who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to present yourself.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where all are accepted equally, and for some, there can be danger in living authentically. For some, the obstacles and adversity they face may seem less consequential than others, albeit a challenge is a challenge, regardless of who you are. Nonetheless, I believe that no person should ever be ridiculed or condemned for living their truth and shouldn’t be afraid to be who they are.
As a society, we’ve progressed and learned that diversity and inclusion are essential—creating a world in which all are welcome at the table, having the right to share and live their truths the same as everyone else. We’ve seen the significant benefits of having diverse talent in the workforce and the business environment. It instills a healthy culture of collaboration and promotes diversity of thought, which allows us to avoid making “groupthink” mistakes that can at times hold us from moving forward as an organization.
At Brightmark, Diversity & Inclusion are one of our core values, acting as a guiding principle for how we acknowledge, celebrate, and protect diversity at our company. I am incredibly thankful to our team members for helping us ensure that we’re creating and upholding a work environment that focuses on diversity and celebrates it.
As many of you know, the month of June celebrates LGBTQ+ pride—promoting self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group. During this time, I employ you to remember that celebrating diversity in any capacity is critical for creating a world that all of us want to live in. When we all come together as one species to celebrate our differences, we become one step closer to creating a world without fear, adversity, and hate.
It’s a time to be you, be proud, and be bright. We don’t have a day to waste.