Pride Month in June is a special opportunity for Amazon employees to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion for all.
This month, with the support of Glamazon – our employee affinity group for LGBTQ+ communities and allies – we’ve been celebrating the stories and achievements of our colleagues, customers and their communities.
Gareth Johnson, chair of Glamazon in the UK and EU Glamazon lead, said: “We believe that it’s vital for LGBTQ+ communities to stand united and with pride in the face of prejudice and discrimination. By working together, we can all contribute to positive change and create greater understanding for everybody.”
To find out more about what Pride means to our employees, Glamazon members have been sharing their inspiration and aspirations for the past, present and future.
Danny ImperialeSenior Sales Manager, Amazon Advertising
I’m so grateful to be part of the LGBTQ+ community and wouldn’t change a thing, even if I had the option to. For me personally, I don’t think I’d be half the person I am today if I didn’t have to navigate my adolescence as a gay youth. Even recognising the darkest and most challenging times, I have grown to appreciate, and even love, the experience that built me. I love who I am. Pride is my chance to celebrate that along with my chosen family.
Every Pride Month, I celebrate my cousin Michael. He’s a generation older than me and his experience growing up gay was far different than mine. He faced stigma coming out and saw the worst of the AIDS crisis. I’m so grateful for the progress we’ve made. To me, people like Michael represent everyone who has fought for the progress we have today and serve as a reminder that we still have a long road ahead.
The last year has brought so many social, political and economic issues to light. We’ve all had some tough conversations with friends, with loved ones and with ourselves. That might feel uncomfortable, but you cannot learn much from within your own comfort zone. It’s always important to challenge yourself, because discomfort helps to foster change.
I consider myself privileged to work for an organisation like Amazon that acts on its commitments to tolerance, diversity and inclusion. I can be my authentic self at work every day. But there are others around the world who do not have that privilege – so we still have work to do until every person can be comfortable being who they are unapologetically. And I am so happy that Amazon believes in that, too.
Karen Mae ChingIndustry Specialist and Programme Manager, AWS
For me, the word ‘pride’ is synonymous with self-respect, love and kindness. Pride is a celebration of love and kindness which starts within ourselves. Once we have this sense of self-acceptance, we can begin to help others. Love is infectious and free – it isn’t jealous or unjust – and Pride pushes us to be courageous in our love.
One of my biggest inspirations this Pride has been the author, Virginia Woolf. It was never easy for her to carry on her love with a woman who was also her friend, and yet she expressed immense courage and love throughout her writing and art. We all need an outlet to express ourselves without fear in order to go beyond what society may expect of us and to become our authentic selves.
I think it’s invaluable for employers to celebrate Pride, to honour the courage of our colleagues and to support their cause – at Amazon we often call this ‘bias for action’ which is one of our leadership principles. The reality of our day-to-day lives should be accepted and understood to build a working environment where everybody can feel at home.
So this month I’m honouring the courage, love and resiliency of our LGBTQ+ communities, and I urge everyone to spend some time reflecting on those virtues. Spread the love and be kind!
Ceysa McKechnieDiversity, Equity & Inclusion Programme Lead, UK
For me, Pride is about community. It’s about coming together as a group, acknowledging the hardships, trials, and difficulties we’ve all faced, celebrating how far we’ve come, and being fully free to be open and out in a unique way. Even though being ‘out’ in the UK is generally accepted, especially in major cities, heteronormativity is still a real and ever-present pressure for people in LGBTQ+ communities. Pride is an amazing chance to be out and about (pun intended!) with a group of people where you do not have to feel like an outsider.
Recently my LGBTQ+ ‘bubble’ has expanded to include a lot more individuals who identify as non-binary or trans. I’ll be using Pride this year to celebrate them: their courage, tenacity, and accomplishments in being openly and honestly themselves.
When I say Pride is about community, I mean every aspect of our community. This includes our employers, suppliers and partners across industry and society. As a major employer, Amazon’s understanding and proactive support for LGBTQ+ employees and customers is vital. Participating in Pride is just one way Amazon demonstrates that support.
After a challenging year, my message to others is to reach out and connect. We have all felt the impact of isolation, but we can still connect with one another in a meaningful way. So seek new ways to expand your bubble, re-connect with old friends, and make new ones. Our communities are special and unique, we care for and support each other. Keep that going no matter how you’re celebrating Pride this year!
Eduardo OliveiraGlobal Account Manager, Media & Entertainment, Amazon Web Services
Every year, Pride celebrations remind me that we continue to fight for progress, justice and equality. It also represents a moment when everyone can celebrate their uniqueness and take pride in feeling comfortable in their own skin.
Celebrating uniqueness, diversity, inclusion and tolerance are ingrained into day-to-day life at Amazon and a vital part of our Leadership Principles. We simply could not cater for our customers, our partners and our employees around the world without also understanding, celebrating and representing their diversity.
This year, I’ll be celebrating the progress I’ve made with being my authentic self at work. When you learn to take care of yourself and to celebrate your own achievements, you can take care of others and inspire them too. Happy Pride, everyone!
Mark StewartSenior Sales Specialist, Amazon Web Services
Every year I’m absolutely delighted to attend the Pride marches, and to see so many organisations joining us for such a happy occasion which is also a day of demonstration. It’s wonderful that so many join us with their families, it signifies the happy nature of our demonstration but underlies the support that we have from a diverse cross section of society.
This year, I’ll be celebrating the stance that Amazon takes on diversity and inclusivity. It’s very genuine, and great example to follow.
Pride at Amazon sends a powerful message that Amazon supports diversity and inclusion and demonstrates the company’s recognition of me and my value, both as a person outside of work and as a professional at Amazon. Anybody around the world who may be struggling with their own experiences should draw comfort and confidence from the fact that Amazon and its employees will march alongside them.
No matter how much we’ve struggled with isolation during these periods of lockdown, we can always continue to celebrate our humanity and diversity. It has been wonderful to see Pride celebrations adapt, evolve and continue to impact people despite these restrictions. Happy Pride, Amazonians!