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Small businesses are integral parts of the fabric of the communities you serve. You provide valuable local goods and services while also contributing to the identity of a place and supporting efforts to make those communities equitable and vibrant. This includes advocating for and celebrating diversity and inclusion in everything you do – from creating an equitable environment for employees to adapting products/services to the unique needs of different types of customers.

Celebrating Pride Month every June is one-way small businesses can show support for the causes that customers and employees care about. This is more than just a “nice to have” – Nielsen reports* that 52% of consumers expect the businesses they buy from to support the causes they care about. Understanding how Pride Month was created and what it represents is critical for you to authentically interact with your LGBTQ+ customers, employees, and neighbors in your local area.

On June 28, 1969, LGBTQ+ activists led an uprising at the Stonewall Inn* in New York City, a popular bar in Greenwich Village. This event, followed by decades of marches and rallies, led to the creation of pride parades and festivals* across the US to recognize the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for civil rights in American society. However, as anyone watching the news these days can see, the pursuit of equity for this marginalized community is far from over. The fight for freedom and equality continues in many aspects of work and life. How should small businesses get involved this June – and year-round – to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community?

Educate

Learning as much as you can from queer-led organizations, activists, and scholars is the first step to creating change in your small business and surrounding area. Invite your employees and customers to join you in this educational journey – dive in, ask questions, start dialogues, and create space for everyone to make mistakes and learn together. Here are few to get you started:

  • National Geographic* details the history of pride celebrations from 1970 to present, while Pridefinder* can help locate in-person and virtual celebrations to learn about the modern movement.
  • The Human Rights Campaign* has educational and other resources for the workplace – especially helping business owners and employees understand their rights.
  • The LGBT Life Center* has a comprehensive guide to learning and use everyone’s pronouns correctly in the workplace and around your local area.
     

Accountability in action:

U.S. Bank and Elavon strive every day to educate ourselves and create the most welcoming work environment possible. We are honored to receive recognition from the Human Rights Campaign as a 2022 Best Place to work for LGBTQ Equality*.

Cultivate

Armed with new knowledge, you are ready to take steps to cultivate real change within your small business and the local community.

  • Join the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)*. This organization connects companies of all sizes with diverse supplier networks, workplace policy recommendations, and more. This will demonstrate to your employees, customers, partners, and more that you are dedicated to running an inclusive and equitable business to strengthen your local area.
  • Invest in inclusive hiring practices and DEI training for your business. The U.S. Small Business Administration* provides guidance on how to develop job descriptions, create reasonable accommodations, search widely and fairly for candidates, and much more.
  • Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in your leadership style. Harvard Business Review* details key aspects of relationship building, giving and receiving feedback, listening to employees, and more to create a leadership style that makes all employees and customers feel respected and welcome in your place of business.
     

Accountability in action:

Elavon is a member of OUT Georgia*, the state’s only LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce. We became a corporate sponsor of this NGLCC affiliate chamber to grow our support of small business owners through programming, resources, and employee engagement opportunities year-round.

Participate

Your support, time and money can go a long way to showing your meaningful support, whether it’s a one-time donation or taking a day off for your staff to volunteer locally. Consider these ideas:

  • Celebrate Pride Month in your local area. Find your local organizers and consider becoming a sponsor or vendor at these events.
  • Donate to GLAAD* and the Human Rights Campaign*; these organizations strive to educate the public about LGBTQ+ issues and provide lots of resources and opportunities to get involved.
  • Volunteer with The Trevor Project* and look for opportunities in your local area; from Pride festivals to local food banks, there are many ways you and your employees can actively support the LGBTQ+ community.
     

Accountability in action:

Elavon is a 2022 sponsor of the Atlanta and Orlando Pride Festivals this coming October. We are excited to celebrate with the community at these events and stand with them year-round.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – the most important thing you can do as a small business owner is start a dialogue in your local area and act on the ideas shared by your community. And when you do – share them with us on LinkedIn* and Twitter*! Wishing you a happy Pride full of celebration and remembrance of the people and places that have brought us to this moment. We are proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community to keep building progress and inclusivity for all.

*By selecting this link, you will leave Elavon content and enter a third-party website. Elavon is not responsible for the content of, or products and services provided by this third party, nor does it guarantee the system availability or accuracy of information contained in the site. This website is not controlled by Elavon. Please note that the third-party website may have privacy and information security policies that differ from those of Elavon.

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