We’re spending Pride Month in 2022 reflecting back on everything that brought us to this point—and the work still needed to progress LGBTQIA+ rights. To dig deeper into the theme, “Progress is Pride,” we reached out to our Impossible Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) leads, Emmet(opens in a new tab) (Team Lead, Consumer Relations; they/them) and Michelle(opens in a new tab) (Sr. Manufacturing Strategy Engineer; she/hers). They offered their thoughts on the theme, what inspired them to join Impossible Foods’ Pride Council, plus some helpful ways individuals and organizations can be better allies.
Why did we choose the theme “Progress is Pride”?
Emmet + Michelle: The theme is inspired by the progress flag created in 2018 by Daniel Quasar and updated in 2021 to include the intersex flag(opens in a new tab). The flag is an emblem of what progress looks like, putting those most marginalized to the front.
The communities represented by the progress flag include intersex people, trans people, and people of color. These communities paved the way toward liberation for all of us under the queer umbrella, yet have historically been forgotten.
Pride means recognizing our history—how far we’ve come and how much further we must go. As an ERG, as a company, we think it’s vital to represent this spirit with our celebration of pride month.
What does the theme mean to you personally?
Michelle: Progress is Pride is meaningful to me because there is no one type of person who represents us all, and diversity within our community is especially beautiful and meaningful to reflect on. I think back to feminist, BIPOC, and gender-diverse heroes who achieved rights and liberties for others that they never personally experienced. We selected this theme to recognize and honor the work that has been done, is being done, and will continue to be done by the most marginalized members within the Pride community. As a Latina myself, I am humbled by everything I’ve yet to learn and understand about my own history within the LGBTQIA+ movement and am striving to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to see themselves reflected in Pride storytelling someday soon.
Emmet: It means we all have a commitment to allyship. In a mission-driven organization that moves as quickly as Impossible Foods, it’s vital that we integrate our company values into everything we do—particularly to lead with heart and stand up for what’s right. For me, my top priority is to see gender diversity and trans inclusion integrated into Impossible Foods’ programming this year and every year until the ongoing epidemic of violence against trans people(opens in a new tab) ends. As a company and as a community, progress is an everyday mentality—a commitment to learn, to listen, and to stride forward 365 days of the year.
How will the theme be brought to life across the organization?
Emmet + Michelle: We’re very excited to be hosting a number of meaningful and engaging activities this month that everyone can participate in—from their laptop to In-Real-Life. Some are educational, some are fun, and some align with our mission to get out and get inspired by the world around us.
Black Trans Leadership of Austin (BTLA(opens in a new tab)) will join us for a virtual panel. Three of their leaders will speak to Impossible Foods employees about their work related to sustainability and activism, as well as the unique systemic and economic issues affecting QTBIPOC (Queer/Trans Black/Indigenous People of Color) communities.
Employees can release some endorphins by joining our Pride team at the 42nd San Francisco Pride Run(opens in a new tab) on 6/25. We’ll be supporting Lyric(opens in a new tab), one of the first centers in the country for LGBTQIA+ youth.
To close the month, we are bringing forward a suggestion for employees to use their “Get Out, Get Inspired” company paid day of service to reconnect with the outdoors and promote wellness. To help with this, our council members are drafting sample itineraries that Bay Area employees can use, plus other locations alike.
In addition to the opportunities to connect and learn throughout the month, we introduced pronoun stickers that can be added to the badges worn by staff and visitors in our offices. Pronouns are deeply tied to identity and, when used intentionally, are a way to create an inclusive environment and affirm one’s gender identity. While we have several digital ways to share pronouns (email signatures, Slack, Zoom), our pronoun badge stickers make it even easier to share and respect our team’s pronouns when working together in-person.
And it wouldn't be Pride if we didn't give employees ways to express their own pride and allyship. Our ERG designed custom t-shirts and a virtual backdrop reflecting our Progress is Pride theme, allowing everyone at Impossible Foods a way to show Pride.
Do you have a message for allies? How can they support folks this month?
Emmet + Michelle: Being an ally is an everyday practice for all of us, and Pride month is a great time to amp up support for everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community. Sustainable allyship is fueled by self-knowledge, humility, and continued education. Self-knowledge includes acknowledging your privilege and what you can offer a community that deserves visibility, inclusion, and longstanding support.
These actions can look like:
Integrating content from LGBTQIA+ creators into your everyday life – podcasts, books, music, documentaries, etc.
Using your platform (professionally or personally) to include queer perspectives.
Considering the language you use in your everyday life.
Supporting queer-owned businesses, artists, and creators with your dollar.
In reality, some of the most powerful actions are the quietest—like helping someone understand when they misgender a person who isn’t in the room, or acknowledging when you’ve made a mistake (nobody’s perfect). These interpersonal actions are vital to our growth as a community. Why say less when you can say more?
Want to learn more? Here’s a good course about LGBTQIA+ allyship from Linkedin Learning(opens in a new tab).
What advice do you have for other companies or organizations looking to acknowledge Pride Month?
Emmet + Michelle: The Pride community represents such an enormous spectrum of people, and everyone is coming to the table with their own background and perceptions. What is “OK” to one person may not be received the same way by others.
One of the excellent benefits of ERGs is that they allow employees and companies to work together—from creating content to planning events—in a way where everyone can learn and win. The best thing we or any company can do when planning Pride Month communications is to recognize and appreciate the impact of the ERGs and their work. You want to create an environment where tough questions can be asked and different perspectives can be shared with compassion and understanding.
Why did you join Impossible Foods’ Pride Council and run for co-chair?
Emmet: I love community; I’ve seen firsthand that the strength of a community can accomplish anything. For example, during the Texas freeze of February 2021, mutual aid organizations rose to the occasion to share resources, transport people who lost power, and do what was necessary to save lives. Small actions can make big waves and my intention for the Pride Council, specifically as co-chair, is to create a better sense of community and support at Impossible Foods for everyone under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella—particularly those within the trans and gender-diverse communities.
Michelle: I joined the Pride Council because I’ve come to learn that one person acting alone can sometimes run fast, but many people working together are a juggernaut. I wanted to run for co-chair because I’ve experienced firsthand how being a member of multiple marginalized groups (woman, Latinx, lesbian) can impact everything in a person’s day/month/year. I feel a passion for using my combination of experience and active listening to support the council and general members in whatever way I can. I’m glad they took a chance on me—because being a part of the Pride Council has already become one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. From the passionate and inspiring council members we get to work with on a daily basis to hearing the feedback from members and allies about the impact that our programming has already had, it feels special to be a part of.