Provided by Imagine
On Saturday, June 17, staff and volunteers from Equality Virginia launched PWC Proud by celebrating more than 20 new member-businesses for Equality Means Business (EMB). EMB is a program of Equality Virginia, which identifies local businesses across the state that are open to all potential customers and employees and will not turn away service to anyone based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or deny or restrict employment to anyone based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently, the state of Virginia offers no statewide legislation protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Businesses large and small that have policies in place to protect LGBT employees are leading Virginia forward.
These new Prince William County-based member-businesses join hundreds of others in the commonwealth standing up to discrimination and protecting their employees where Virginia laws do not. Vee Lamneck, deputy director of Equality Virginia, told supporters gathering to celebrate at BadWolf Public House (EMB Member), “Many Virginians are surprised to learn that one can be fired or not hired in the state for their sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s why EMB is so important.”
Jim O’Connor, representing Equality Prince William, addressed why EMB is so important to the community, “EV’s EMB program could not have come to Manassas at a better time. Both the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park have declared June to be LGBT Pride month, and the participation of so many local businesses in EMB proves that the community at both the official and individual level is a welcoming place for the LGBT community.”
Patrick King, the founder of Imagine, a marketing and branding firm and EMB member, told the volunteers, “creativity is what matters when I hire people, not sexual orientation and gender identity. Any business needs diversity to retain customers and employees. That people can be fired for who they are or who they love is an embarrassment.
The growing list of Equality Means Business members are listed here: virginiafairness.org/equality-means-business-2/emb-online-directory/
PWC Proud events continue into next week, and more information is available at equalityvirginia.org/pwcproud.
Wednesday, June 21 at 5:30 p. m.
The Prince William County School Board is voting whether to amend the nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality Virginia, along with local PWC LGBT groups, is attending this meeting to show support for PWC students and staff. Those in favor of the nondiscrimination policy will wear purple.
Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center (14715 Bristow Road, Manassas)