Recognizing our commitment to LGBTQ+ with Stonewall Ambassador Program induction
On June 28, we became the first public company to be inducted into Pride Live's Stonewall Ambassador program in recognition of our commitment to LGBTQ+ equality. From being the first U.S. airline to fully recognize domestic partnerships in 1999, to becoming the first U.S. airline to offer non-binary gender options throughout all booking channels earlier this year, we continue to thrive in our efforts toward equality and inclusivity.
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."
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Connecting products and mail to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.