Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Mother's Hope


Tad & I walked anxiously toward the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis hotel wondering what this evening would bring.  Tonight would be PFLAG's 4th Annual Gala called Straight for Equality.  I was told it would be an incredible night.  And it was. . . .

When I entered the Grand Ballroom, the first thing I noticed were names of companies lighting the side walls. Companies like KPMG, Johnson and Johnson, Barclay's Bank, American Airlines, Marriott, Kellogg and many others.  These were companies that were supporting the LGBT community and these were companies that were helping to make the world safer and more accepting for my son.

Tad and I were guests at the Kellogg table.  Kellogg has been supporting the Straight for Equality Program since its inception, Mitra Chappell, explained to me with pride.  Mitra's job as Diversity and Inclusion Director for Kellogg is to make sure their workplace honors the diversity in their employees who they consider family.  This year they had two tables of employees attending the event, many bringing their partners to experience this wonderful event.  

With New Kellogg Friends
I fell in love with Mark and John who sat next to Tad and me.  John shared how incredibly hard Mark works as the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Director in the Chicago area.  I also met a plant manager from Ohio and some employees from Florida.  Kellogg is making a difference not only within their company, but across the nation.  Every employee I talked to said that they loved working for the Kellogg family.

Mark, Ben and John
As overwhelmed as I was walking into this event, I walked out at the end of the evening with more hope than I ever thought I could feel.  I will never eat another bowl of Kellogg's cereal without remembering the amazing people I met at this company doing such incredible work.  I will never put on another bandage without feeling grateful for Johnson and Johnson and their commitment to equality.  And whenever I stay at my next Marriott hotel or fly with American Airlines, my heart will quietly say thank you for their generosity and dedication.  As a mother, I work each day to make the world more accepting for my son and all LGBT individuals.  Thank you to all the corporations that are saying . . . .we hear your voice and it has become part of our heart. . . .