June has been celebrated for a long time in this country as Pride Month. Pride has been federally recognized since 1999, celebrated historically before then, and honors the LGBTQ+ community and their struggle for equal rights. 

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Angela Hughey, co-founder and president of ONE Community, explains the importance of Pride Month, how the business community has helped, what one can do to support the cause and the issues the LGBTQ+ community currently faces in the state of Arizona. 

“Pride is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the contributions and history of LGBTQ+ folks in our communities, but also a time to recognize and prepare for the work that must happen year-round to ensure a more equitable and inclusive society for everyone,” she says. “It is an opportunity to be intentional about identifying other barriers that exclude LGBTQ+ members and how we can work together to advance inclusive policies and culture where we live, work and play.”

ONE Community has made an effort to court businesses into showing support for the LGBTQ+ movement. This has been done in part through the UNITY pledge, signable by individuals, businesses, faith-based organizations and elected officials. Hughey describes this pledge as “a concerted effort by Arizona businesses and individuals to advance workplace equality and equal treatment in housing, employment, and public

accommodations in Arizona” as well as the largest equality pledge in the nation to date.

Hughey recognizes various ways businesses supported Pride and events centered around it during the month. “We see businesses sponsoring Pride Month community events, organizing Pride Month celebrations in the workplace, recognizing Pride Month and the contributions of LGBTQ+ folks in internal and external communications, and providing educational opportunities to learn more.” Many businesses, she says, have helped support the LGBTQ+ community outside of June by “embracing inclusive policies and engaging in socially responsible business advocacy to help create a more equitable society for all.”

Hughey also nods to businesses that have supported their LGBTQ+ employees through efforts such as employee resource groups. “Many businesses have taken the important step of embracing and allocating resources to employee resource groups. These groups are for employees with like characteristics such as gender identity or sexual orientation to provide support, career development, and contribute to personal development,” Hughey says,, “DEI initiatives or programs demonstrate that a business is welcoming, embracing and cultivating open communication.” 

Outside of the aforementioned UNITY pledge (www.UnityPledge.com) and joining advocacy organizations such as ONE Community (www.ONECommunity.com), Hughey mentions allies could attend informative events such as their Point of Pride LGBTQ+ Summit on June 15 

Outside of supporting advocacy groups, Hughey emphasizes the importance of educating oneself when it comes to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. “A commitment to educating oneself is central to making progress and having a sincere and deeper understanding,”she says.

Regarding the struggles currently affecting the LGBTQ+ community, Hughey focuses on Arizona’s nondiscrimination law not currently protecting LGBTQ+ people. “LGBTQ+ children and families, particularly transgender Arizonans, continue to face attacks from the Legislature that limit their access to healthcare and to contribute to our community freely as their authentic selves,” she says.. Hughey hopes ONE Community could succeed in an endeavor to create “an Arizona that celebrates, respects and protects everyone equally.”