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Our Take on Pride

Rachael Rapinoe

June 16, 2020 5 min read

News

Our Take on Pride

FOUR UNIQUE VIEWPOINTS

Pride means something extra to our team this year. Here's Laura, Kendra, Brett and Rachael's perspective on how we’re celebrating diversity both individually and as a startup business in 2020.

 

RACHAEL RAPINOE

CEO + CO-FOUNDER
To me, Pride month is about two things: celebration and gratitude.
This is a month to celebrate all of the beautiful diversity in the world. For years, people were forced to be one type of person. Think, feel, breathe and and love in this one silo. That goes against the very nature of being a human being. We are wild, we are free, we ebb and flow through life in many different ways. Although oppression still very much exists in the world, in our country, we are more-so able to see the full spectrum of representation in our communities. Growing up in a small conservative town, I was completely blind to the full expressions of humanity. It was not until much later in life I came to understand what true diversity meant and how important it is for the world to welcome it.
More importantly for me, this is a month to be grateful for all the brave, unrelenting, fearless leaders who fight to preserve the rights for all of us today. There’s no question being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is a human right. So, I am thankful to every activist and equality advocate who came before me. I also think Pride month is another example of not just fighting for the rights of all Pride family members, but fighting for all human rights.

 

 

KENDRA FREEMAN

When I think about pride-I think about progress. I think about all the love stories and all the heartbreak. Pride signals so many layers, like the very rainbow chosen to represent it. To be denied any basic right because of who you choose to love or be is just a tragedy and a war in the making. With Pride on the heels of what is happening to the black and brown communities makes me roll up my sleeves and jump into the fight. I think the LGBTQIA community aligns with any civil rights movement because it speaks louder to us than others. Pride is taking a stand for everyone and being a leader. Pride feels like it is coming for the Black community. I hope this Pride is the pride I remember that the world changed for the black and indegenous people of color who have been oppressed for over 400+ years.

 

 

BRETT SCHWAGER

CREATIVE DIRECTOR + CO-FOUNDER
As we grow Mendi past this first year, it’s clear there’s so much more work to be done. We’re just getting started, but have already put some stakes in the ground. We have unwavering principles for how we want to build our diverse culture that have been in place since day one. As a direct result of our team’s outlier makeup of people, we’re all aligned on disrupting the status quo through doing things the right way and building representation into everything we do.
How many other sports-cannabis, minority-LGBTQ-women-owned businesses come to mind after all? From the last time I checked I believe we’re the only ones with this distinct point of view that helps shape our philosophy for building accepting, tolerant, and thriving work culture. If this inclusive ethos doesn’t shine through our brand, we’re simply not doing our job.
As the only straight, white male on our early team I get the unique perspective of having my view turned 180 from the predominant/majority lens I looked at the world with through the earlier stage of my career. Something that’s stood out, is that every work or sports team I’ve been apart of where uniqueness has been embraced benefited directly from better ideas, better products and more wins. Social acceptance is not only positively contagious, it’s also a hell of a lot more fun.
Pride 2020 is our year to begin taking bold actions publicly about continuing to invest in our brand promise: Level the Playing Field.
It’s our internal mantra to guide us down our fight for equality the we know best how—through sports.
There is so much work to be done, but as a company looking to build products that solve athlete’s problems for healthier tools, we’re doubling down on our underdog stance willing to disrupt the status quo by amplifying representation. Honor the voices of those speaking out for equality, and stand in solidarity for those who need a fair shot. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to rally together as a company to embrace, celebrate, and have fun with the rich diversity around us.

 

 

LAURA ARNESON

MARKETING DIRECTOR
To me Pride is about representation, dignity and solidarity. Pride has evolved in its personal meaning to me through different phases of my life. At one time, when I was not out and overwhelmed with fear of what people would think, Pride was about representation. It was a chance to see myself in others and realize I wasn’t as isolated, different or alone as I sometimes felt in a conservative leaning, midwest environment.
Recently, I have reflected more on the dignity Pride delivers. There was a time, not long ago, when most of the country would have been okay with stripping me of my job, family or life just for being who I am. I met my wife in 2014, and at the time gay marriage wasn’t even legal. Only because of the advocates and trailblazers of the LGBTQ movement and pivotal moments like Stonewall have we moved toward real change that give me the opportunity I have today to carry myself with dignity in all aspects of life.
Looking at our country today I think the LGBTQ community has a unique perspective. We don’t take for granted our liberties because they were quite literally just returned to us. We know the fear that they could be taken away by politicians looking to make a point. And we know how much they matter. How much lifting a ban on our right to marry has changed lives, families and generations forever.
Today, in 2020, Pride is about solidarity. Standing proud, not just of who we are but also standing alongside other communities who know the struggle for equality. Demanding equality and liberty for our trans family and for our brothers and sisters of color.
True Pride to me is maturely sitting with the tension of ecstatic celebration and thanksgiving of how far we come, and at the same time, feeling deep sadness that we still have a long way to go.

 

Together we yearn to see more progress, make a lifelong commitment to pursue justice for others and never forget to celebrate the big or small wins along the way.



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