Silence.

It can be as loud as a group of people screaming, just as powerful as a hammer in the mind of a victim – a victim because of who they are. Silence that keeps the good at bay. Endless. Constant. Terrifying. On this day, we acknowledge those who have been bullied and experienced discrimination as members of the LGBTQ community, breaking the silence of those too afraid to speak, and speaking up for them in the process. We are here, as people who have shared experiences, victims of or witnesses to cruelty and bigotry.

We Hear You. We See You. We Are Listening.

A few of us on the Veriily team are members of the LGBTQ community and have experienced the bigotry that this day is meant to protest. Some of us are veterans also who have been exposed to a different type of bigotry, some of which is cultural but has been shifting thanks to education. On this day, we are meant to break that silence, tell our stories, and educate in the process.

We Need To Talk

Rather than tell a story, though, let us talk about inclusion. Our team walks the walk. There are no quotas to fill based on some corporate index for diversity. The path we have walked as a team meant, along the way, people from all walks of life would be joining. There is strength in diversity and differences of opinions and ideologies, similar to how differences can complement each other by lending strength where others lack.

Our story is one of diversity and inclusion. It is who we are as a team, regardless of race, sex, religious background, sexual orientation, political ideology, or anything in between. That same diversity that people think of as a buzzword, the weapon of political groups, or a tired concept is the same diversity that we value as strength and something we take seriously.

Inclusion allows the building of stronger communities, stronger teams, and influences communication in a way that promotes differences in opinion and ways of thinking that positively impacts everyone involved. In a team that values inclusion, people can be themselves and not have to worry about being ostracized or disregarded because they don’t “fit in” based on physical traits or ideology. This Day of Silence means breaking those perceptions and biases, raising our voices as one, and crying out to the world that we are more than who we love, how we think, or what we look like.

Leading By Action

This day and each one after, we continue to foster education, understanding, and compassion as we all navigate the growth of our team and our presence. We will continue to be the standard for an industry lacking in diversity. As that standard, it is our responsibility to take of each other, not just those in our team, but also those who live and work in our communities.

No matter what, the responsibility is shared. We all have a role to play to ensure everyone feels safe, loved, and heard. We acknowledge and celebrate differences. Most of all, we draw strength from it, and we will use that strength to build bridges and bring people together.

No longer do we need to stay silent. It is our time to talk about our experiences and continue to build those bonds.

That time is now.