As we are closing out the month of June, our employees came together to describe what Pride Month means to them. At Endeavor, we build and foster a culture where differences are valued. We support an inclusive environment where employees feel empowered to use their voice and share their experiences and perspectives.
Thank you to our employees for sharing their voices and different perspectives. Read the incredible stories below:
“Visibility is everything – for the gay kid, who desperately looks for positive images and reflections of herself/himself in the world, for the trans youth who feels terrified and alone, for our families and friends, who know and love us, so that they may stand in solidarity with us as allies in the continued fight for equal justice and treatment under the law and within society.
When I came out twenty-seven years ago at nineteen, our acronym was LGBT. Today, our moniker is LGBTQIA (yes, I struggle to keep up too!) with more colors added to the rainbow flag. The point of this evolution exemplifies how we have progressed to understand that human identity and sexuality are not as unambiguous and clear-cut as we were taught. It is also an expression of solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color. I welcome the change because it is all about inclusion; everyone wants to feel seen, heard, valued and understood. Here is the simple and uncomplicated part: we are human and we love.
Claim to fame: I was interviewed by Phoenix’s Echo Magazine in 1998 and the publication informed me I was the first professional athlete (Ladies League Baseball/LPB) to come out publicly in the state of Arizona. Thank you to those who paved the way for me to feel safe enough and confident enough to be open and honest. You are fierce. Thank you to all of you who wear your pride pins as a sign of unity and support and thank you to Endeavor for saying, ‘Tell us your story.’” -Carla Widman, Captain, ATL
“As every year passes by, I feel like it truly is getting better as a gay American. Growing up in the South, you didn’t always have a comfort zone. My little sister was at one point in my teenage years the only one I could confide in. Working for a company that has sexual orientation added to its discrimination policy makes me feel safe and loved. Coming out is never easy, especially when you don’t have a family who accepts you for who you love. Which is why friends and co-workers are the only family a lot of us have. Thankfully, my family is the best in the world and embrace and love me for who I am. So many of my friends have no relationship with loved ones simply because of who they are. Everyone has a story just ask any LGBTQ+ person. Some of us have a wonderful story, and some of us need a hug to remember that someone loves you. We still have so much work to do, but everyday gets better. Every day is a new day, but we must keep up the fight and always have faith in the greatness of those who love us. ‘Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it- Hillary Clinton. –Luis Pena, FA, ATL
“Yes, Pride Month is a time to celebrate by going to festivals and parades each June, but one has to ask the question why or what are we celebrating? We celebrate the journey we’ve taken to get where we are today, the ups and the downs, to gain equal rights for all. We celebrate our history, realizing that if it were not for those who have come before us, we would not have the opportunities we have today. We celebrate the future, that each and every American, whether LGBTQIA or straight, will be treated fairly and equally under the law. I’m proud to say that my time at Endeavor Air has been nothing but great. From new hire initial training, to recurrent every year, the message has always been clear, Endeavor Air respects all employees and most importantly welcomes all employees to the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, race or background. The promotion of diversity and inclusivity does not go unnoticed and I would like to thank everyone in the HR and training departments for making this message clear. I would encourage employees to ask questions when you see a colleague wear an NGPA pin on their lanyard, or see a rainbow sticker on their roller board bag. This keeps the conversation going and promotes learning in the workforce.” –Paul Janowicz, FO, DTW
“Happy Pride Month! I have never celebrated Pride Month, as I feel like everyone has their own way to celebrate. Since I became a flight attendant in 2018, I’ve noticed that this industry was the best choice for me. Even though I have a medical background, both careers have shown me that we can do anything without being a tag or label. My family, friends, and coworkers have shown me respect for who I am, for how I express and for how I treat others. Being different does not mean we don’t have the same opportunities than others. We all deserve to be loved and to give love because love always wins. A flag, a color, a country, a beat, or any other thing does not identify who you are. Your heart is the only one that shows the truth of who you are. Don’t let anybody label you however they want, just be yourself.” –Jose Portillo, FA, LGA
“It’s a long journey from figuring out who you are to being proud of it. For me, pride is being able to be true to yourself and recognize those that fought for us to be where we are today. It’s equality, it’s the peace of mind of walking on the street fearlessly holding my husband’s hand. ‘Real love accepts people as they are, with room for who they may become.’ -Cottrell, Susan. – Andre Santiago Quintino, FA, MS
“On June 12, 2016, I fell victim to a hate crime. A mass shooting took place at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A group of my coworkers and friends were enjoying our night and just living life to the fullest when all of a sudden the world stopped for us. We did not know what was happening until it was too late. I was shot in the left side and woke up in the hospital. I lost some really close friends and coworkers that night and others that I vaguely knew. I want others to understand that it is ok to be different. To be free and to be who you are. Never and I mean NEVER shy away from being your true self. I celebrate Pride Month to remember those that we have lost, the turmoil and struggle we have endured and to hope for the world to be in a better place one day. Don’t ever be afraid to show off your true colors. My door is always open as an LGBTQIA advocate.” –RoRo Gaines, RCM, AT
“Pride Month to me is a celebration of my uniqueness. When I came to the United States, I have felt the love and acceptance for being who I am. I am comfortable saying that I am gay, something I never felt when I was back in the Philippines. I got bullied a lot in school and even silently ridiculed by some family members. I am proud that I am part of a company that values equality in gender and race.” –Ram John Bo-York, FA, ATL
“Pride to me means being able to be your authentic self, being proud of who you are and standing up for yourself every time someone questions your pride. I have an amazing husband and we are both proud of who we are because we are a part of a unique community with the same struggle all fighting for the same goal which is Equality for all!” –Corey Simons, Captain, CVG