Seen and Celebrated

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Co-written by President & CEO Maria Kim and Sam Babineau, Senior Associate, Government Partnerships & Policy 

Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center at New Avenues for Youth

Sometimes when we think of Pride Month, our minds flood with images of rainbows and boas and the strut and the swagger of our local Pride Parade.  


Other times, we think of the origin story of Pride Month — the Stonewall Uprising and the fuel those events gave to LGBTQIA+ activism in our country. Or we think of milestones like LGBTQIA+ Equality Day — that fateful day eight years ago when the Supreme Court ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges guaranteeing to same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.   

Our hearts may be heavy with the pain that had to be endured in order for progress to be made. And also, our hearts may feel light believing that more progress is on the horizon.  

But over the past several months, this progress has been under siege as attacks on the rights of trans and nonbinary individuals, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate crimes, and more have been on the rise.   

These attacks don’t just affect the LGBTQIA+ community, but a community disproportionately experiencing other compounding barriers like housing instability, justice system involvement, domestic violence, and the challenges affronting opportunity youth. Communities from target populations REDF cares about as central to its mission.  

As a venture philanthropy focused exclusively on employment social enterprises — or businesses that exist to create jobs and onramps to economic opportunity for people whose talent is historically overlooked — we invest in trailblazers like the LA LGBT Center, A 2nd Cup, and New Avenues for Youth who make it their business to ensure the talent of those they serve and employ is widely and profoundly seen.  

Thanks to their transformative work and the work of so many like them, we see and celebrate this talent in spades too. And we cannot imagine a world without their gifts in it.   

Times like these remind us of our why as an organization — that our work is not just about the power of a job and the hope that gives as an onramp to economic opportunity, it’s also about that onramp being a pathway to joy.  

Here’s to everything that Pride Month represents in our hearts — and may we live into each celebration, lift up the beauty and diversity of this community in which we are a part, and reclaim a whole lot of that joy.  

In solidarity,  

Your friends at REDF