PRESS RELEASE: Global Businesses Pledge to Support Over 1,000 LGBTQ Refugees in North America (North America Version)
- The Tent Partnership for Refugees and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation join forces to mobilize the business community in support of LGBTQ refugees
- Accenture, Chobani, Hilton, IBM, Under Armour, and Warby Parker are among over 20 companies announcing commitments to mentor LGBTQ refugees in Canada, Mexico and the United States
December 8, 2020 – Today, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a network of over 130 major companies committed to integrating refugees, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, have joined forces to mobilize businesses in North America to support LGBTQ refugees. Altogether, 23 companies have announced their collective commitment to provide mentorship opportunities to approximately 1,250 LGBTQ refugees over the next three years.
At the North American Business Summit on LGBTQ Refugees, convened virtually by Tent and the Human Rights Campaign, these companies recognized the challenges for LGBTQ refugees as they seek to integrate into their new communities. The businesses have each pledged to mentor at least 50 LGBTQ refugees via their LGBTQ Employee Resource Groups — preparing refugees to enter the job market, and gaining access to employment opportunities.
Eyewear company Warby Parker has committed to mentoring LGBTQ refugees in New York, whereas Hilton will mentor refugees in Dallas and Washington D.C., and Under Armour will focus its mentoring activities in Austin and Baltimore. Accenture, an HRC Platinum corporate partner, is expanding their commitment to inclusion by mentoring refugees in Toronto.
Other major companies, spanning sectors from healthcare to hospitality and from consulting to financial services, have also stepped up to mentor LGBTQ refugees across North America. They include: Accenture, ADP, AT&T Mexico, Bain & Company, CIBC, CompuCom, GSK, Chobani, Finastra, Hilton, Huron, IBM, Ipsos, Kearney, Medtronic, Nomura, SAP, Scotiabank, Softchoice, TD Bank Group, Under Armour, Von Wobeser y Sierra, and Warby Parker.
“Refugees have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis, with many losing their jobs – and we know that LGBTQ refugees face even bigger hurdles,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and founder of Tent. “Especially in the current economic climate, I am incredibly proud of the companies standing up for human rights and dignity – including Chobani. The business community must use its power to build more inclusive communities that protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Mr. Ulukaya was joined at the summit by Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign and a former refugee from Liberia; and Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet.
“LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing the same persecution and violence facing refugees across the world. Many are fleeing places where simply being who they are puts them in danger of imprisonment or even death,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “LGBTQ refugees, like all people, deserve the ability to not only survive, but to thrive as newcomers. Partnering with Tent and the business community on this initiative will impact the lives of countless LGBTQ refugees.”
Many LGBTQ refugees have been forced to flee their home countries due to persecution directly related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Sixty-nine countries still criminalize same-sex relations, and nine may impose the death penalty. Transgender people face incredible levels of discrimination and violence without legal recourse in countries around the globe. While there are no official figures available, it is estimated that Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. each host thousands of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.
“There are still far too many countries that persecute people for who they love or who they are,” said Ambassador Power, who serves on Tent’s Advisory Council. “While we must do more to provide a safe haven for those who need to flee, we must also do more to help them stand on their feet when they’re resettled in their new homes. Businesses mentoring LGBTQ refugees is a step in the right direction — and will make a meaningful difference in refugees’ lives.”
“Businesses and communities thrive when our teams are inclusive, equitable and diverse. As business leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that anyone entering the workforce has the opportunity and resources they need to achieve their professional goals. Mentorship plays a critical role in that and our team is honored and excited to support LGBTQ+ refugees through this program. At Warby Parker, we’ve always strived to create an environment where our teams can bring their authentic selves to work. Our hope is that we can provide that support to the LGBTQ+ refugee community as they seek new and continued employment opportunities,” said Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker.
“As a business founded on the noble premise that international travel can be a bridge to world peace, Hilton is proud to join with Tent, HRC and others in support of LGBTQ refugees,” said Laura Fuentes, Hilton’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Our Team Members are eager to demonstrate our values of hospitality and offer career guidance and skills development to our refugee partners, empowering them to bring their full, true selves to work each and every day.”
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About the Tent Partnership for Refugees
With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of 30 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 130 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. Find out more at www.tent.org.
About the Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of HRC.