June marks Pride Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals on history worldwide. Akron Children’s supports and encourages all employees, patients and their families to be their authentic selves. To celebrate, we asked several employees to share what Pride Month means to them and how others can be stronger allies.
What’s your job title and how long have you worked at Akron Children’s?
I’m an associate recruiter for the Talent Acquisition team, and I’ve been with Akron Children’s Hospital for a year and a half.
As part of the LGBTQ+ community, what does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride means a celebration of all the accomplishments made towards the rights and equity for the LGBTQ+ community, and those who continuously fight for more. It’s a chance to feel seen, heard and find a place within your community without having to change so you fit in with others. Pride is for setting aside our differences to support each other, welcoming others into the LGBTQ+ community and reinvigorating that energy to work towards a more safe, inclusive world.
How do you celebrate and recognize Pride Month?
Pride goes far beyond just one month for me. As fun as the festivals are for celebrations, I also like to watch some my favorite LGBTQ+ movies and shows and discover new ones. I like to buy products from LGBTQ+ artists in my community or places I’ve traveled to. I also donate to organizations that truly benefit the LGBTQ+ community throughout the entire year, not just June when they change to a rainbow logo. Pride is to remember everyone who has fought to give the community the rights we have today and using that for inspiration to make our voices heard now and in the future. As fun as Pride is made out to be, it’s also recognition for anyone who chose to defy “fitting in” so they wouldn’t be harassed or harmed for being different. It’s a time to reflect on how we can grow ourselves to be more resilient and braver in order to support each other. We have so much more to work towards and need to honor those that paved the way for us to stand on.
What is your involvement with the LGBTQ+ Employees and Allies Employee Resource Group (ERG), and how has it shaped your experience at Akron Children’s?
I’m an active member in the LGBTQ+ ERG as a volunteer and take part in the sub-committees to work towards our goals. Being a part of the ERG has positively shaped my time with Akron Children’s because I can be myself without fear of judgement or exclusion. I’ve been able to connect with co-workers deeper, educate myself about others and take action in how the organization will address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Being a member of the ERG has helped me advocate for myself and others better with the support from Akron Children’s coworkers and resources.
How can others be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community?
Call your local and state representatives regarding important issues regarding the LGBTQ+ community! Speak up against others that discriminate and diminish our existence. Ask questions from a mental space of love and understanding. The best way to support someone revolves closely around Akron Children’s own value of treating others how they would like to be treated. We all have our own individual needs, and the best way to learn what those needs are is to listen.