The honor took place in New York at Pride Live's Stonewall Day on World Pride, a celebration for the 50thanniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement. We served as one of the presenting sponsors of the day that included a live outdoor concert produced by iHeartMedia NewYork.
"We recognize, embrace and celebrate the individualism that makes our customers and employees unique," said Jill Kaplan, President of New York/New Jersey. "We have long believed it's important to support the LGBTQ+ community by upholding inclusive policies and practices and are honored to be the first public company recognized as a Stonewall Ambassador from Pride Live along with an extraordinary group of trailblazers."
Kaplan represented United at the induction ceremony along with members of EQUAL, our business resource group for LGBTQ+ and ally colleagues. Fellow new inductees this year are Hillary Rodham Clinton; Donatella Versace, Chief Artistic Director of Versace; Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer of William Morris Endeavor; Conchita WURST, global LGBTQ+ activist and recording artist; Stuart Vevers Executive Creative Director of Coach and Samira Wiley, activist and actor. The new ambassadors join current members such as Chelsea Clinton; Laverene Cox, actress and advocate; Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue and more.
"I cried on stage when Jill was speaking," said Newark Liberty International Airport Flight Attendant Kayleigh Scott. "To be standing up there with my colleagues and looking out to the crowd where thousands of people from all different backgrounds came together to celebrate love was an overwhelming feeling."
"I never thought 20 years ago I would ever be comfortable being out, let alone at work," said United Safety Management and Systems Programs Senior Manager and Stonewall Day attendee Keith Ellis. "To be at a company who is at the forefront of our community — of being a leader of change and acceptance not just through our words, but our actions is a humbling and an indescribable feeling. I'm honored and happy to be here today, among so many iconic people and changemakers."
"We are pleased to welcome United Airlines as a Stonewall Ambassador and grateful for their support of Stonewall Day, which brings multi-generational LGBTQ+ communities and allies together to actively advance the Stonewall legacy and fight for full LGBTQ+ equality," said Diana Rodriguez, Founder of Pride Live.
Prior to the concert, the group walked the red carpet among the stars that included Whoopi Goldberg, Donatella, Cyndi Lauper and more. On stage, Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance, giving an empowering speech that showed her continued appreciation and love for the LGBTQ community. To close out the festivities, it was Alicia Keys who stepped on stage as a special performer and belted out a few of her famous hits, ending with a special rendition of "New York" for Stonewall Day.
"The day was amazing," said Denver International Airport Flight Attendant Christopher Boelens. "To see United represented in such an important fashion on the 50thanniversary of Stonewall made me feel proud of where I work. The fact that all of us could be out there celebrating as friends and family was one of my favorite parts. We still have a ways to go, but I'm proud to be at a company that encourages and celebrates us for being ourselves."