With the holidays approaching quickly, the DEI committee would like to bring attention to what the holidays may look like for some of our friends and family throughout the industry. The holidays are full of family, laughter, cheer, and good food. Oftentimes, each of us gets a pajama set from our grandmother that we will never actually wear… or even better, the epic coffee mug with cats singing carols in Christmas hats (full disclosure I actually love the one I got lol). But some of us see none of that. Some of our brothers and sisters spend these days in misery. Let’s talk about it.

Not everyone looks forward to the holiday season with awe and wonder as it triggers pain and disappointment within our own family dynamics. Let’s face it, most of us come from some form of dysfunction in our families, even the “picture-perfect” families that aren’t divorced that seem to have everything together, struggle with their own private issues. Those that aren’t part of the so-called perfect families, like children of divorce, are having to go back and forth between two households, which comes with its own set of challenges for all involved.

There are masses in our industry that spend the days we spend laughing, alone. We have hispanic workers that are terrified to go home for fear of not being able to get back. They are home alone without their mothers, fathers, brothers, or sisters during the happiest season of the year.
We have people in interracial relationships that are shunned from bringing their significant others to their family home. They spend these holidays with the one they love, yes, but with a hole in their chest of discouragement and longing for the days that grew them.

We have people in our offices so uncomfortable with their sexuality that they aren’t even willing to admit that the roommate they are always associated with is actually the love of their life and spend their entire holiday season walking on eggshells. Even worse, some of our people can’t even go home because their family will not accept that person in their lifestyle.
There are single mothers and fathers hiding their struggle to provide a meal for their children, much less anything for gifts. In the event they are able to provide some sort of wrapped miracle for their children, it will never be what the other kids are getting which continues the onset of separation and guilt.

There is a large population of homelessness that runs through the LGBTQ+ community with adolescents being kicked out of their homes because they “came out” to parents who were not accepting and supportive. We would like to take this opportunity to remind our industry that while we all face challenges in life, some of us face different types of challenges that could be less painful if we knew that we had supportive family and friends. We encourage everyone to reach out to someone in need, even if it is to just talk or offer an ear and support. It could mean everything to someone who is struggling with Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Trauma, just to feel compassion from another human being.

The list can go on and on for people around us daily that are struggling to find a place or some sense of happiness during the holiday season. As a committee, we are issuing a call to action. What we would like is for all of us to be a bit more mindful and pay close attention to those we spend time with each day. Talk about their plans. Make sure each person has joy during this season regardless of their religion or beliefs. We ask that all of you offer a chair at your table or a gift to someone who needs it. Take the time to “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Besides looking to your direct circle of friends, family, and co-workers, other avenues that can be taken as a call to action can be to reach out to your local shelters to lend a hand, such as working in a soup kitchen to help serve the homeless population. If possible, find a way to incorporate your children. Reach out to your local non profits to see how you can be of service with less fortunate members who may need sponsoring this holiday season for food, bills, or toys for their children. Check on your local women’s shelters and Veteran Hospitals to see if there are Vets you can sponsor that don’t have families. We know it is hard during the age of COVID-19 to volunteer like we may have done in the past, but the important thing is to reach out and try to find out how you can help. As always, we thank each one of you for your support and the impact you are trying to bring to the industry. May you and your families, however they may look, have a very happy holiday season and may the 2022 year bring you much more happiness, health, and love.