As I am entering my fourth week in my new position as the Executive Director of Indy Pride, I keep thinking, what is community? Why is community important? What purpose does it serve? Why should you use your precious time building community? Because it changes lives.
Over the course of my career, I have had the great opportunity to witness the change community can make. Community for me means this;
Community builds a sense of belonging. As human beings, we need human interaction. Some of us like more than others, but having a connection to other people is important. Having a connection with people that share your same life experiences is transformative. Have you ever walked into a space and ran into someone that is LGBTQ+ and felt a kinship to them? That is community.
Community facilitates mutual support. Nobody knows how LGBTQ+ people experience life better than other LGBTQ+ individuals. Being able to connect with those who have experienced coming out in the workplace, have dealt with hostility from others for being gay, or have counseled people who are new to being queer helps us to avoid mistakes that others have made and find new ways to make life better for all.
Community allows us to gain strength and influence. I heard someone once say “This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.” When we share our ideas and move together to make positive changes, we have more leverage. Coming together as a group, we can make our ideas stronger and can affect real change.
Community is a place where we can gain specific knowledge. Being able to talk with others and share stories is one of my favorite things. I love hearing about people’s life experiences. I even want to hear the bad stories because it is fuel for my passion to make positive change in Central Indiana.
Community is an outlet for giving back. Indy Pride produces a multitude of events throughout the year. We coordinate a career fair, networking opportunities, a scholarship program, speaker panels, and of course our Indy Pride Festival and Parade. None of us could do these things alone. It is vitally important that LGBTQ+Hoosiers continue to build this community so that programs like the ones above can exist.
I hope that you will consider getting involved in our community, not only so we can get to know you, but also so that we can help you feel what this community is all about.
Welcome to 2022! I hope it is a great year for you!