By Shawn Murphy-Hockett | June 20th 2019

June. It’s a month filled with color. Nature is inviting, nurturing, and allowing of all things different. It’s as if Mother Earth is begging us to celebrate her multicolored world. Vibrant flowers bloom. Warm sunshine clears the air.

And, in most places, rainbow flags sway in the breeze.

Throughout the month of June it’s becoming more and more common that people across the US, and the world, recognize Pride; a social movement rooted in commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a turning point in our country's LGBTQ+ history dedicated to promoting the self-affirmation, dignity, and equal rights of this historically marginalized group.

This colorful flag has gone through many revisions over the years but is now internationally recognized as the common symbol of the Pride movement.

It’s a significant, powerful moment each year.

But the way I see it, why should we limit ourselves to recognize Pride only one month out of the year?

It’s incredible that this singular event has garnered so much support, attention, and recognition for what PRIDE aimed to do — promoting equal rights, building an alliance for the LGBTQ+ community, and celebrating sexual diversity.  And it continues to evolve, now a giant festival in cities across the world. Pride has become a party — maybe the best one of the year (If you haven’t been out in the Castro yet, I 100% guarantee you will have one of the best nights of your life).

I’m grateful to have always felt safe, included, and wanted whenever I’ve walked into a gay bar. And the gay community doesn’t have to be welcoming to outsiders like me. If you think about it, I’m the one that is ‘invading’ their safe space.

Now - imagine that the entire world doesn’t feel safe for you to be your true authentic self.

What does this basic cis-gender straight white girl know about inclusivity when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community? Not enough.

I grew up in a very liberal, albeit, hippie household where my brother and I were always told that it didn’t matter the sex, race, socio-economic status, nationality, etc. of the HUMAN we loved. That doesn’t mean my parents still didn’t ask me all of the naive questions about my brother marrying a man. They meant no harm, they were honestly just curious about how this whole “gay-marriage” thing works. I am so grateful to my parents for being open-minded and loving their children no matter what, as I know that a lot of my friends were not so lucky.

Which is why as an adult, I’ve made it a personal goal that wherever life takes me, both personally and professionally, my environment must feel like home.

This is exactly why I chose to grow my career with Y Media Labs.

I knew it was right for me as soon as I finished my interview. Y Media Labs has an unconventional hiring philosophy. While hiring for fit is the norm, YML insists on hiring people who don’t fit, but rather come in and add to the culture through their differences.

This is all rooted in the idea that our culture is constantly evolving, and that while change can be hard, it’s vital to growth. The same culture of inclusivity and celebrating diversity that reverberates through the Pride movement lies at the foundation of YML.

There are three new projects specifically in place to help pursue, identify, and celebrate our differences more so than ever before.

Our newly established ‘Women’s initiative’ meets once a month to listen and learn from a fellow member’s presentation with topics such as confidence, culture, and women in the tech industry.

‘Passion Projects’ invites employees into the more unknown talents, backgrounds, and hobbies of their fellow co-workers. This can be anything from holding a wine tasting to learning about someone’s past life in a traveling circus (hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream).

Finally, we will be reigniting ‘Listening Sessions’ to have a safe place for those deep conversations about topics such as LGBTQ+ rights and safety in the workplace. The goal is to gather the team and create allies around how we can ALL do better to achieve foreseeable outcomes.

So, I’m challenging you to make a lasting impact. Make it a point to care. Openly. Colorfully. Lovingly. And not just in June. By observing our differences, we form a rainbow each day. For each other. For ourselves. For our values. Let’s hold ourselves accountable.

Together we can, and we will find a way to make the world a little more proud.