The Top Three Things to Know About PRIDE and Business in El Paso

 In Advocating, Coaching, Connecting, Events, Innovating, News

On June 24th, 2021, the El Paso Chamber hosted the fourth event in their “Rebuild & Reimagine” series, sponsored by Workforce Solutions Borderplex and the County of El Paso. Over the course of the year, the series will examine industries and topics with the ultimate goal of provoking conversation around how El Paso can move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fourth event – “Rebuild & Reimagine: PRIDE Forum—focused on the LGBTQ+ community and the interface with business development, diversity, and inclusion in the El Paso region. The panel included: Uriel Posada, Univision El Paso; Adri Pèrez, the ACLU of Texas; Dr. Shawna Scully, William Beaumont Army Medical Center; and attorney Cynthia R. Lopez. The roundtable was moderated by Art Gloria, EPC PRIDE Committee chair.

David Jerome, President and CEO of the Chamber, kicked off the event with a welcome and an invitation to members; “I don’t want this to be just this month, we want to do this every month at the Chamber, and be doing our part to make sure people understand the opportunities that inclusivity represents for businesses is extremely important.” He added, “Please feel free to come by the Chamber and help us make sure we’re thinking about this the right way and advocating the right way for our community.”

Below, we outline the key takeaways from the event.

View Photos from the Event Here


COVID Had a Disproportionate Impact on the LGBTQ+ Community

The impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community will require a comprehensive recovery plan. Minority communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely take longer to recover. “We need to ensure that the policies that we are elevating and educating others on ensure equity in disaster recovery,” said Adri Pèrez of the ACLU, “that means that they prioritize the communities that have been most disadvantaged. . .which includes the LGBTQ community.” The panelists emphasized the need for more comprehensive, medical care funding post the pandemic, especially in the transgender community where there is great hesitancy to seek care due to discrimination. Uriel Posada also spoke on the importance of accounting for all aspects of health: mental, physical, and emotional.

Corporate Responsibility Should Foster Cultures of Inclusion

According to the panelists, corporate leaders have a responsibility to create a culture of inclusion. When it comes to workplace culture, leaders serve as role models to demonstrate the type of behavior they want to see in their employees. The panelists touched on three big areas in which leaders can create a culture of inclusion. First, leaders should address stereotypes of people in the LGBTQ+ community on an individual, and company-wide, scale. Second, leaders should implement policies that take into account employees that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Attorney Cynthia Lopez gave the example of changing forms with questions involving gender to include an option for gender non-conforming employees. Third, all of the panel members stressed following up verbal support with action, and to continue, year-round, responsiveness to employees and community members on how they can better inclusion in their respective workplaces.

Allyship Should Be a Goal of Businesses and Business Leaders

The panelists shared their vision for building allies in business and corporate structures. Panelists discussed how employees accommodating coworkers coming out as LGBTQ+ can greatly impact how people feel about the company and how comfortable they are in the workplace. It is important for individuals to fulfill their role in creating a culture of inclusion. Cynthia Lopez suggested even something as simple as introducing yourself with your pronouns can help create a more inclusive environment. “If you don’t know [someone’s pronouns], ask. What are your pronouns?” Lopez added, “It’s not offensive to ask, it’s more offensive to presume.”

View Photos from the Event Here