On the first day of Pride Month, we want to publicly state our support of the LGBTQI+ community and be clear about what we stand for as a company. 

Our support of the LGBTQI+ community is part of NextRoll’s larger commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, because we want everyone who joins NextRoll to be their true authentic selves at work.  We strive to create an environment at NextRoll for all employees – “Rollers” in our vernacular – to thrive regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, or political affiliation. We do this because we believe everyone should have access to equal opportunity, and because evidence shows diverse and inclusive environments lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

To help us in this mission, we have Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs. ERGs are voluntary, Roller-led groups that foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.  Currently, we have eight ERGs: ChaiRoll, RainbowRoll, RollAble, RollAsia, RollDeep, RollMigos, RollVeterans, and RollWomen.

RainbowRoll is the ERG that empowers LGBTQI+ employees, educates allies, and supports the local community. At the end of 2020, RainbowRoll ERG hosted a Holiday Drive that raised $3,000 and donated over 50 wish list items for the Ali Forney Center in NYC serving LGBTQI+ youth. This year during Pride Month, RainbowRoll is focusing its programming on education and awareness of the more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced or signed in 40 states across the country. Many of these bills specifically target and discriminate against transgender youth. 

NextRoll stands in solidarity alongside RainbowRoll in opposing these discriminatory bills. As a sign of this commitment, we have made a $25,000 donation to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) organization and joined 120 companies in signing the Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation and the 647 companies endorsing the Business Coalition for the Equality Act

One of the roles RainbowRoll has played at NextRoll is educating our Rollers about the origin and meaning of Pride. This year’s Pride Month marks 52 years of struggle for acceptance, inclusion, and equality by the LGBTQI+ community, triggered by the Stonewall Riots in 1969 when police raided the Stonewall Inn Bar in New York and targeted LGBTQI+ patrons. At the time, LGBTQI+ had few places to meet people and congregate without persecution and harassment, so places like the Stonewall Inn were few and far between. It is said that these riots began when a patron “threw the first brick” at a police officer in response to the unjust raid. Two revolutionary LGBTQI+ rights activists — Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rae Rivera — were transgender pioneers who galvanized many behind the movement, and from this Pride was born a year later. Given the recent rise in anti-LGBTQI+ legislation, it’s clear the fight continues.

We encourage all Rollers and readers to take the opportunity presented by Pride Month to continue their own journey of learning and contribute towards making the world a more equitable and inclusive place for all.