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Solidarity, Acceptance, and Flexibility Mark Pride Month 

June 10, 2020

The Port-Wide Pride (PWP) Employee Resource Group (ERG) stands in solidarity — we believe Black Lives Matter. As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and justice issues, we revisited our priorities for the month of June to show full support to the conversations, meetings, and events hosted by the Port of Seattle Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) on systemic racism and its consequences and impacts. 

Port-wide Pride is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+ (plus)) Employee Resource Group at the Port of Seattle and includes employees LGBTIA+ themselves, and also employees who are supportive allies of the group. Port-wide Pride members support, encourage, and advocate for initiatives and programs that pertain to a diverse cross-section of Port employees, their spouses/partners, and families. 

One of the main initiatives of this group involves the Port of Seattle participation in and organization of social and educational activities and partnerships with the community to promote participation in various annual events.  For many years, this group has organized and promoted the Port participation  to the Pride Parade in Seattle and various celebration events during the month of June (Pride month). 

2020 events 

This year, because of COVID-19, all the major Pride events planned for June 2020, including the Parade, have been cancelled or postponed until late summer. Seattle’s Parade, originally scheduled for June 28th will go virtual as well as so many of the other June events. This June, the PWP ERG is supporting one of the PWP members, Leona Komatsu in the organization of virtual meetings with LGBTQIA+ themes. Leona’s current project, Virtual Meaningful Conversation is about raising awareness on social issues, using social justice documentary films, creating a safe space to learn, speak, ask questions freely to build positive and stronger community, that leads to a more just and peaceful world. Leona wishes, ultimately this becomes a permanent project at the Port of Seattle and to be one of the official Meaningful Movies Project venues.  

We’ve compiled this collection of thoughts from our members, friends, and allies to write their personal messages about Pride, acceptance, and how we will celebrate in the year of COVID-19.  

What would I want to tell my younger self? Jude Barrett

I would tell my younger self that shame and denial are very destructive to my emotional health. I would tell my younger self that being completely honest is liberating and detoxifying. I would tell my younger self that we all have so much to live for and so much we can do to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others. I would tell my younger self that there are countless people that feel trapped in the fear of non-acceptance, fear of being different, fear of not being understood and yes, fear of anger and hate. Finally, I will tell my younger self that I will be surrounded by people I love, people who love me and people I want to be with. It really does get better. 

Jude Barrett 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Aviation Properties 

What does Pride mean to you? 

Adrian DownWhat does Pride mean to me? Pride means loving my friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community for exactly who they are. Pride month is a time to celebrate and learn from queer history, art, and culture, and to be inspired to continue the work of creating more equity and gender liberation for everyone. 

Adrian Down 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Aviation Environmental 

Dave KaplanTo me, pride means being able to live my life the same as all people … happy, healthy, and free. It means not taking what I have in the way of legal protections for granted. It means acknowledging and remembering those who risked all on behalf of ensuring that our legal rights and protections be written into law. It means continuing to acknowledge the need to fight for the rights of all marginalized people, throughout our communities and around the globe. And it means taking pride in who we are as human beings, and saying “let’s celebrate!” 

Dave Kaplan 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Local Government Relations 

Leona KomatsuPride is the month of celebration to shine the light on those folks who fought for their rights to be who they were, and it is time of the month to continue to educate myself about what the LGBTQ+ community brings and contributes to society.  

What would I want to tell my younger self? 

I want to tell my younger self and any young queer kids, “It is more than OK — in fact it is so precious to be authentic, be one of a kind, and be true to yourself. You are perfect just the way you are!” 

Leona Komatsu 
Pronouns: She/They  
HR Intern, Talent Development and Diversity 
Pathfinder, Customer Service Department 

Erik Knowles

Just as the word says — believing in oneself, determination, and endurance! 

What would I want to tell my younger self?   

Do not judge, lest ye be judged.  

Erik Knowles 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Aviation Maintenance 

Elizabeth LeavittThis year I have been reflecting on my family values and PRIDE.  . My mother was a professional choral arts musician and had many gay friends. My parents never talked about their "gay" friends and didn't differentiate them from their other friends.  We just knew they were the fun ones to watch at parties ?!   

I'm thankful to have grown up in an environment that was so supportive of differences. 

Elizabeth Leavitt 
Pronouns: She/Her 
Engineering Environment and Sustainability 

When I think of PRIDE, I reflect upon how fortunate I am to live, work, and socialize wAlley Greymondith many from the LGBTIA community and to appreciate their contributions to robust art environments, to activism, and advocacy. I am glad that my nephew can marry if he so desires.

I also think of how much more work is needed to make the world more just for all people.  

Alley Greymond 
Pronouns: She/Her 

Kelli GoodwinPride means I am free to be my authentic self.  I am able to share my life openly with co-workers, family, friends, and strangers.  Not having to hide my love for my wife and my chosen LGBTQ+ friends and family lifts a huge weight that I carried in my younger, closeted years. 

I have celebrated Pride many different ways over the years —Marched with Port-wide Pride, dressed as a Seattle Storm player and rode their float, rode my Triumph as a Dykes on Bikes participant, and sat on the street with friends as the parade walked past. This Pride will be different due to COVID-19… but also the same … we will connect with one another in new ways this year and remember those who came before us, those who were brave and paved the path for our future! 


Kelli Goodwin 
Pronouns: She/Her 
Senior Manager, Maritime Operations 

P R I D E to me means be proud of who you are authentically and unapologetiAnika Klixcally. Have confidence in yourself and your contributions to the world. As an ally, I continuously strive to be a good listener, a supporter, and a friend to the LGBTIA+ community and, as much as I am able, help educate others who are less informed or less supportive of equitable rights and opportunities for everyone. If I have questions, or I don’t understand, I will ask because I want to learn and be the most effective ally that I can be. I think that is what I would tell my younger self as well. Learning about the real issues of any marginalized group who is made to struggle for equality in this world is vital to bring about peace and enrich our society.  When I was a kid, these topics were not discussed.  Today’s youth is much more educated about it than I was, and for that I’m grateful.    

Anika Klix 
Pronouns: She/Her 
Human Resources – Total Rewards 

Cassie FritzPride means accepting yourself for who you are and sharing that person with the world. It's knowing you are inherently good, loving yourselfToms Love is Love Shoes, and showing up for others in an authentic manner. Pride Month will be different this year for so many reasons, but the basic feeling remains. It's a time to show love for all, with an extra hand out to our LGBTQIA+ friends and loved ones to make sure they feel seen, celebrated, and accepted.

 Also, I am pretty happy with my new Unity — Love is Love Toms, so even if I'm just wearing them to walk to the mailbox I will be styling!   

Cassie Fritz 
Pronouns: She/Her 
SPM Program Controls Manager 

Pride represents an important moment of visibility and acceptance for the Nicola LongoLGBTQIA+ community and it is important to remember that Pride is rooted in an ongoing civil rights movement for the equality and freedom of marginalized people. This year, with the cancellation of the parade and other festivities because of COVID-19, the community will be missing an important opportunity to come together. This year, I plan to check the online events and hope to find some that I can watch and attend with my husband and my three kids. Remember, this June you can still be proud of your identity and honor the spirit of Pride, even if you not at the parade or other events! 

Nicola Longo 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Aviation Planning 

Joanna FlorerPride means being free to be who you are!  Even though I am a straight white woman, I still feel that I need to conform to what society expects of me. I really miss not being able to participate in the parade this year; it's one of my favorite events because I find it so liberating. It's about accepting people for who they are and loving them more for having the courage to do so.​ 

​Joanna Florer​ 
Pronouns: She/Her​ 
Sr Environmental Program Manager​ 

How did you celebrate Pride prior to COVID-19? Tunny Vann

Pride for me is a reminder to live authentically and an opportunity to honor the struggles and experiences of members of historically oppressed communities now and those that have come before me. Prior to COVID-19, a tradition that I shared with my partner and our friends is picking a new city to celebrate in each year. It’s a rather new tradition, so we’ve only been to Seattle, San Francisco, and most recently to World Pride in New York City. We had plans to celebrate in Chicago and Vancouver, BC this year, but that will have to wait until next year. The photo is of a few of us standing in front of the Stonewall Inn on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots – a moment in history largely accepted as the catalyst of the modern fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in the United States. Absent in person celebrations this year, I plan to use this time to learn how to be a better ally to those whom are marginalized and still being systemically oppressed today. This will take the form of engaging in anti-racist work, dismantling my own biases,  having courageous/ uncomfortable conversations, challenging privilege, #saytheirnames, and when necessary showing up to socially distant rallies and demonstrations.  

Tunny Vann 
Pronouns: He/ Him/ His 
Deputy Executive Chief of Staff 

Is COVID-19 changing the way you celebrate Pride month this year?   

Derek EdamuraCOVID-19 has definitely affected the way that I normally celebrate PRIDE.  I am a board member for the Washington chapter of GLSEN, and we traditionally try to be visible at community celebrations and parades.  I love being able to go out to different PRIDE events and to interact with the people in the community.  Unfortunately, with many PRIDE events cancelled due to COVID-19, it has been more challenging for us to have that interaction.  One thing that we are doing for our students is to have virtual events that they can participate in to feel that sense of community and support. 

Derek Edamura 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Video Production Specialist 

John van DeinsePride for me is a celebration of diversity for everyone. It’s the one time of the year where we can set down all the hardships that we have had in our past and acknowledge the positivity of who we are as queer people.  

It’s also a time to reflect on the past and to pay tribute to all of those LGBTQIA+ trailblazers before us, who fought for their rights, so that we could have more freedoms today.  

I’ll be honest, this year is going to be a strange one. With the absence of the parade and festivities, it‘s going to be a big shift in mindset. Instead of pride being displayed on the outside, it will be honored on the inside (both literally and physically).   

John van Deinse 
Pronouns: He/Him 
Aviation Landside Operations 

Jesse ZirwesI will definitely miss the opportunity to celebrate love in person at the annual Pride parade this year. I have had the great fortune of leading the Port volunteers in the Pride Parade for several years and joining together in support has been such a blessing. Celebrating with family, friends, and loved ones at this annual event has been something I look forward to each year — the interaction, the community, the support, and the love. I look forward to coming together soon!  

Jesse Zirwes 
Pronouns: She/Her 

Jessica Brown2020 Pride is an important turning point for my family since this is the first year my stepson Lucas is out to celebrate it as a transgender young man. We will miss the parade, but look forward to the community-building online events. No one could make me miss the virtual drag show this Saturday, and Lucas is nervous and excited to participate in a youth Minecraft event for LGBTQ+ kids. There have been a lot of changes in how we can express ourselves while staying safe, but there’s still so much to look forward to and I for one feel enormous amounts of gratitude to live and work in communities that welcome diversity. 

 Jessica Brown 
Pronouns: She/Her 
Senior Environmental Management Specialist  

The Port of Seattle is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer that values diverse perspectives and life experiences. We encourage people of all backgrounds to apply, knowing decisions concerning the employment relationship will be made without regard to age, race, ethnicity, color, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, the presence of any physical or mental disability, or any status or characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law, regulations, and ordinances. 

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