Standing in solidarity

By Rosa Ruiz

Last weeka landmark decision was handed down from the US Supreme Court making workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ people illegal. It was a joyous moment – especially during Pride Month – but also one of relief for many who have been fighting for basic civil liberties for yearsMany vulnerable groups share a sense of community that’s been forged by years of advocating for equal rights (including housing, employment and representation) and seeing their basic civil liberties continually challengedSays Rustin Tonn, head of PB’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, “The LGBTQ+ community encompasses all aspects of diversity – ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender – so it shares in the struggles of every minority community. In light of recent events, Pitney Bowes, like others, is especially emphasizing this intersection with the quest for racial justice. 

The Stonewall Riots and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s illustrate the long standing intersection of LGBTQ+ and black rights, and, importantly, the need for solidarity among marginalized groups. The more voices in the choir, the more likely the call for equality will be heard – and answered.  

The Pitney Bowes LGBTQ+ Advisory Council recently invited identified and allied PB employees to join roundtable to share their experiences. It was clear that there was much to add to the discussion this Pride Month. Topics ranged from individual experiences as an LGBTQ+ person, to the need for inclusion and acceptance and the challenges they and their loved ones face 

Jessica Brabank shared her conservative upbringing and how her family, who once forbid her from watching The Cosby Show, now embraces her relationship with her black wife. Her household stands in solidarity with both LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter, a literal intersection for her family.  

Vicki Javner, whose child identifies as transgender, shared her concern over a group that goes unnoticed, Trans women of color experience an incredibly high rate of violence—every two weeks, a trans woman of color is murdered but these acts do not even make the news. It’s almost as if they are invisible.” When asked how others can make themselves aware and bring about change, Vicki says it starts with education. 

Kimberly O’Connell adds, “Part of it is sharing a part of yourself whether it’s with your co-workers, your straight friends or allies. It’s the impact that some of these discussions can have on others or things that are happening around youYou also really have to vote – you have to understand the experience and background of the people that you’re putting into positions of leadership.” 

The roundtable agreed that one simple step toward understanding is to share a personal story and make friends with someone who doesn’t look like you. Listening and creating space for a different perspective can help LGBTQ+ and other minorities feel seen and is the foundation for progress. Part of being an ally is participating–whether by attending a protest, or having a courageous conversation with the intention to understand.  

Richard Guinn has surrounded himself with an understanding support system. He says, “My LGBTQ life is my status quo. I’ve got my friends around and everyone accepts me for who I am and it is the status quo for me.” 

Many vulnerable communities share a sense of community that’s been forged by years of advocating for equal rights and seeing their basic civil liberties continually challenged. Common ground is often found in cultural spaces such as music, art, movies and television, where creativity and an underlying humanity often dissolve the boundaries of otherness that divide us elsewhere. Who hasn’t heard an Elton John song they can’t sing along to? Or who hasn’t watched or heard of Orange Is the New Black and Laverne Cox? And RuPaul’s Drag RaceIt’s up to each of us to find ways beyond the arts to bridge the chasms between us. 

What if your search didn’t reveal your ideal job? Don’t worry.

Sign up to get updates on our latest opportunities.

Join our Talent Community

And please, check back often to search again, as new positions are posted regularly.