I first learned of the Stonewall Inn when I moved to New York City in the early 1990s. I lived just blocks away from this historic site, but knew nothing of its history or its importance to the LGBTQ community. As I became a part of the Greenwich Village community, I heard stories from residents about the riots that took place there in 1969, the oppression the LGBTQ community faced at that time, and the revolution that took place when patrons of the bar demanded they be treated with the dignity and respect they deserved.

I am not an expert on LGBTQ rights, but I do know that Pride Month, celebrated in June, by people and organizations around the world, is an important way of commemorating the hard, and at times, dangerous struggle for equal treatment LGBTQ people faced, and still face today. Major victories have been made for LGBTQ people (most recently, the Supreme Court ruled that an employer cannot fire an employee for their sexual orientation), but there is still discrimination, bias, and violence perpetrated against LGBTQ populations every day. That is why celebrating Pride Month (no matter what your sexual orientation may be) is an important way of showing you stand with the LGBTQ community, ready to defend their rights and dignity as human beings. 

Though I no longer live in New York City, I still celebrate Pride Month, with the community of IMA. At IMA, we have a robust Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative, that includes both a volunteer committee to serve members and internal D&I employee engagement programs which I attend regularly. Under the direction of our D&I Director, Linda Devonish-Mills, the D&I Committee has produced materials including a D&I toolkit to help people in other organizations develop their own D&I programs.

Recently, the D&I Committee, headed by Derek Fuzzell, launched a “Real Life Stories” profile section, where IMA members can share information about their background, their interests, and what makes them unique. The profile section can be found on the bottom of the D&I page. Check this page often for new profiles. 

IMA has made a strong commitment to foster D&I so that every member and every employee feels a sense of inclusion and community. It has been a powerful and transformative experience to work in an organization that places such high currency on celebrating differences while respecting everyone’s individual dignity. 

About the Authors