Pride Month at Backstop Solutions
Monday, July 1, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Ellen Kilian, Talent Sourcer, Backstop Solutions
One of the core values here at Backstop is celebrating. We celebrate our wins, our discoveries, and most importantly, we celebrate our people. Being a proud new member of the Backstop team, the first thing I noticed was the inclusiveness that everyone encapsulates here, which is why celebrating Pride month this June with countless events and fundraisers was not something unusual.
Backstop’s Pride Month celebration started with a group of Backstoppers who came together and created a dedicated committee to oversee the creation, execution, and overall fun for Pride month. This became evident from the moment you walk into the front door where you’ll immediately notice an office space filled with color and excitement! From the skittles at the front desk, the LGBTQ+ flags on display in our kitchen, to eating lunch next to an impressive, horse-size unicorn, it’s clear that Backstop shows inclusivity.
On June 6th, fellow Backstopper and Client Care Specialist, Liz Salim, gave a presentation on the Stonewall Riots and the impact this event has made on people world-wide. This historical event that started as a police raid at an establishment that united the LGBTQ+ community, became a foundational movement towards the beginning of a more liberating freedom for the LGBTQ+ community. The Stonewall Riots also had a pivotal role in paving the way for numerous LGBTQ+ organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and many others.
Backstop did not end the celebration there! During a Lunch & Learn on June 12th, Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership coach, LaTonya Wilkins was our very special guest speaker on the topic of how to be an amazing ally for the LGBTQ+ community, breaking this down into four steps. One, do everything you can to experience work from an LGBTQ+ perspective by putting yourself in their shoes. Two, stick your neck out for your LGBTQ+ colleagues, ensuring their voices are also heard. Three, show an interest in LGBTQ+ lives, just as one would for any of your other friends or colleagues. Lastly, ask for and incorporate feedback on how to continue and even be a better ally for those within the community. Throughout the discussion, Backstoppers were able to reflect and answer questions that pertained to these steps on how to become an amazing ally.
The Pride Committee also put together a bake sale as a way to give back. With Marketing Associate Austin Moser leading this event and many Backstoppers contributing baked goods, we ultimately raised $433, which was then matched and rounded up by the Backstop Philanthropy committee, to make a whopping $1,000! The proceeds raised were donated to the Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the LGTBQ+ people of Chicago.
On top of the involvement from everyone at Backstop, on June 18th, the documentary, Paris is Burning, was shown during lunch for anyone who wanted a break in their hectic work day. This film helps educate viewers on the Ball culture, and introduce these viewers to the underground LGBTQ+ ballroom scene.
With panelists, PowerPoints, showings, and fundraising, we rounded out the month by celebrating with rainbow cakes on June 27th. Backstop got to come together to recognize Pride Month – a time of community, conversation, and celebration for all. Working here this past month has shown me what an inclusive, caring, and open work environment looks like. Backstop truly does come together to share in wins with one another, the discoveries, and, most importantly, the people, and that is something I am truly grateful to partake in.