As the Director of Human Resources at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores, I’m committed to recruiting and retaining the talent we need to serve our customers and communities with excellence. One of the ways I do that is to ensure we are creating an inclusive environment for our employees and customers alike.
In my experience, the best way we can create an inclusive culture is to lead by example.
When it comes to our LGBTQ employees there is no exception. We recently received approval to start a LGBTQ employee ARG group, we attend and recruit at PRIDE events across the state and at LGBTQ job fairs, and members of our management team recently participated in ONE Community’s UNITY Institute to better learn how to implement inclusive practices. Being inclusive is not just the right thing to do, but it ensures we remove any artificial barriers to attracting and retaining the very best.
But being inclusive is also personal to me as the mother of a gay son.
When my son first came out, he also expressed his desire to leave Arizona because it is one of the 31 states where he can be fired, denied housing or refused service simply for being who he is since Arizona’s statewide non-discrimination statute does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Coming from a large Italian family that has always lived close to each other - that was the hard part for me about him coming out – that I could lose him. But I also couldn’t blame him for wanting to live a life where he had the same protections as me and his dad. It also made me more committed than ever to creating an Arizona that is open for business to everyone.
I’m proud of the work that Fry’s has done, and thankfully it’s not unique. Every day more businesses are becoming inclusive and welcoming. Over 2,800 businesses like Fry’s have signed the UNITY pledge in support of equal treatment. But as much as businesses can do to protect our employees, there is still a missing piece of the puzzle. Without statewide protections, our LGBTQ employees are still at risk when they leave the workplace – creating not just a moral problem, but a recruiting problem.
Arizona is changing.
We are more welcoming than ever, and it is time for our laws to reflect that. My son and his husband feel like Arizona is changing too, and I’m happy to report that they live close to us. They have supportive employers and a supportive network of family and friends. The other day my son remarked that he saw a gay couple walking down the street holding hands and what an incredible site that was. As someone who has never thought twice about holding my husband’s hand in public it took me a moment to wrap my head around why that moment was so important to him. And it gave me hope that I can continue to spend Christmas, birthdays, and more with my son and son-in-law in Arizona.
I’m committed to doing my part to create an Arizona that is open for business to everyone. Because it’s not just good for business, but it’s vital in making Arizona a great place to live for families like mine. But no one person or individual can do it alone. It’s time for our leaders to act to ensure our laws are reflective of all the people who make it great – no matter who they are or who they love.
Join us in asking Governor Ducey to do his part to ensure an Arizona that is Open for Business to Everyone by signing an updated executive order on state employee non-discrimination.
Simply click here to send a letter from your business or organization.
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