Find yourself an Ed and celebrate Pride
I've got an amazing friend named Ed. Ed is the ultimate triple threat: political organizer, successful business person and proudly gay! What do all these things have to do with being an advocate? Let me share the wisdom Ed has bestowed upon me.
When I first met Ed, he invited me to Pride, and my world got a whole lot bigger and brighter. Not only did we have a lot of fun, but he taught me being an ally isn’t enough - it’s about advocacy. Ed is out making waves in the community. A seated member at the HRC National Board of Governors outside of him killing it in his professional life at work, he’s made me realize there was so much more impact one person can have!
Here’s what I have surmised from Ed and so many others along the way:
1. Do NOT accept the status quo
I've experienced my fair share of cringe-worthy moments and have had my "should have spoken up" moments as well. Trust me, they haunt me. Be brave and stand up even when its wildly uncomfortable.
2. Get connected
Advocacy means taking action, and guess what? When you get involved, you'll be amazed at the incredible networking opportunities that come your way. It's a win-win!
3. Leadership matters
Work for companies you believe in and that actually walk the walk on advocacy. Don’t justify anything less than the highest level of integrity and action.
Because of Ed, I became actively involved in LGBTQIA+ organizations. I've fought for marriage equality in Minnesota with a local non-profit, and I've proudly sat on the steering committee and shaped strategy for the LGBTQ+ group at a Fortune 100 company for over a decade.
We live in an era of connectedness, you need to make the most of it. Use the information at your fingertips to your advantage, search on your own intranet/slack/etc for an advocacy group to join. If you can't find one, start your own! That’s what we are doing here at DevRev. Plus, there are countless resources out there to help us along the way. Personally, I've got so much love for the Human Rights Campaign and there's plenty more to discover!
If you can only do one thing, get to know someone new like I did with Ed. Accept that invitation, ask them about their life, their struggles, and most importantly, have an open mind. Hopefully, you’ll be as lucky to find someone similar to the catalyst that completely changed my perspective and actions.
Raising a glass to Ed, the LGBTQIA+ community, and all the incredible advocates out there. Together, we'll create a world that's bursting with love, equality, and a whole lot of fabulousness!