The past year has been filled with milestones and disappointments for the LGBTQ+ community. These events have affected colleagues in the workplace and our communities, and our “need to know” is essential to provide support and understanding. It is difficult to dispute that the current administration has chosen to oppress the rights of this community. The president announced that the military would “not accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve – fortunately, this gesture was short-lived after being struck down by four federal judges. Next, Attorney General Sessions made claims that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not provide protections from discrimination at work for transgender people. What policies are in place in your organization?
Despite the tumultuous social and political milieu emboldened by the current administration, the LGBTQ+ community has continued to make enormous strides. In recognition and celebration of PRIDE month, we would like to reflect on the strength and resilience of this community by outlining but a few of the historic political gains and positive shifts in representation and visibility seen throughout the past year.
In acknowledgement of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month, we highlight the contributions and experiences of AAPIs in the workplace. First, it is important to note the vast diversity among AAPI groups which represent persons with heritage from many regions across the world.** Similarly, AAPI workers span many industries and occupations with some of the most popular sectors including management, business, science, and the arts.
As for other marginalized groups, professional gains for AAPI workers require an ability to navigate the many existent barriers among U.S. economic and educational systems. Misconceptions and stereotypes also negatively influence the experience of many. Nevertheless, continued themes of persistence and resilience shine through.
As a follow-up to our recognition of Women of Color in business and advocacy, we take a moment to share information on Latinas in entrepreneurship. Again, the themes of persistence and empowerment shine through the facts and biographies below.
“In the future, there will be no women leaders – there will just be leaders”
Last year for Women’s history month, we highlighted women’s contributions as employees, students, consumers, leaders of social causes, and family members. This year we focus on women’s resilience and continued growth as business leaders and entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on the tremendous contributions of Women of Color.
The celebration of Black History Month began in February 1976, as a tribute to two icons –Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln – whose birthdays occur in February. The month was originally established as Negro History Week in 1926 by African American historian and scholar, Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson was known as the “Father of Black History,” and was second to W.E.B Dubois in receiving a doctorate from Harvard. Dr. Woodson dedicated his career to African American history and authored the influential text “The Miseducation of the Negro.” 
In many work places, schools, universities, and other contexts, Black History is celebrated. For our monthly column, we call attention to historic figures who contributed to the legacy of African American leadership in the U.S.; many of these individuals are unknown. We also call attention to icons who have led by example.
Normalizing discussions of mental health in the workplace has increased over the last 10–15 years as the stigma of seeing a mental health practitioner has decreased. Although this statement cannot be generalized to all workplaces, employers in-general have concerns about employee productivity, absenteeism, demeanor, and overall participation as a contributor. A constellation of these behaviors may be a signal of mental health distress or other distractors from the employee’s personal life. Of course, behaviors that overall reduce productivity are financial costs to the organization.
TIME magazine recognized the Silence Breakers for their forthcoming statements about sexual harassment in their work settings. All entertainers and high-profile women have advocated by raising their collective voices for the benefit not only of themselves but of other women and girls. But more than 10 years ago, Tarana Burke, began the social movement with women of color in the South and other major cities. An African American woman, she knew at the time that she was not alone in her experiences of sexual harassment and began to reach out, particularly to other women of color. Today, she continues her advocacy at a grass roots level, engaging women often left in silence.
In the November AAG newsletter, we noted that, surveys report that roughly 25% of all women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace . Perhaps the statistics of non-celebrities were buried in the article because colleagues asked me about how sexual harassment affected women of color and blue-collar women. So that these facts are not overlooked, we have decided to restate the data this month.
Normalizing discussions of mental health in the workplace has increased over the last 10–15 years as the stigma of seeing a mental health practitioner has also decreased. Although this statement cannot be generalized to all workplaces, employers in-general have concerns about employee productivity, absenteeism, demeanor, and overall participation as a contributor. A constellation of these behaviors may be a signal of mental health distress or other distractors from the employee’s personal life. Of course, behaviors that overall reduce productivity are financial costs to the organization.
During the last 20-25 years, we have witnessed attention to various methodologies to enhance workplace productivity and efficiency. Among strategies are workshops to enhance teamwork and communications, improvement in relationships informed by inclusive diversity expectations, and the promotion of wellness. Related to wellness are programs designed to integrate mind, body, and spirit for more intentional focus and output. Mindfulness is one such strategy.
“Hispanic” Heritage Month started out as Hispanic Heritage week with legislation signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Twenty years later, on August 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan authorized PL-100-402, establishing the month-long celebration—September 15-October 15. The intent is to recognize and celebrate the contributions of persons of Latinx-heritage in the U.S.
Though the terms Hispanic and Latina/o are still used, in contemporary discourse, Latinx is the recommended term because it is a gender-neutral term conveying inclusivity. Latinx also affirms the socio-cultural and political awareness of the youth and young adults who represent the future of higher education and the workforce. A few facts highlight these Latinx realities.