Last year during Pride Month, A Better Balance noted that though we were steeped in the deepest depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, global protests led by Black organizers against police brutality and killings signaled the fight against oppressive systems from which Pride originated. A year later, as our nation attempts a “return to normal,” we at A Better Balance continue to follow the lead of Black, LGBTQ, and disability rights activists as we strive to reimagine our normal together.
As COVID-19 cases continue on a downward trend throughout the U.S., many individuals in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), LGBTQ, and disability communities who have borne the brunt of the virus’s destruction do not want a return to life as it was before the pandemic—especially for the many low-wage and essential workers who have been unable to work from home. In addition to still processing the griefs and traumas of this past year, for many BIPOC and LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, a return to the norms that were before signals a return to regular micro- and macro-aggressions, mandatory code switching and lack of flexibility, and less accessible work environments. This Pride, as with all Pride months before, we join BIPOC, queer, and disability rights advocates in demanding better and working toward a new normal that centers marginalized communities.
For over a decade now, A Better Balance has worked toward equitable workplace laws and inclusive paid leave policies that provide all workers—especially low-wage workers—time off to care for themselves and their loved without risking their job or economic security. In our latest push at the federal level, we have joined other advocates in urging Congress to enact a comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy with an inclusive family definition and job protection, so that all BIPOC individuals, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities can take leave to care for their loved ones without the fear of losing their jobs for it. And we continue to advocate for paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been a barrier for many BIPOC workers in particular.
Marginalized communities have always led the push to shift societal norms that have upheld white supremacist ideologies, and A Better Balance follows this charge. This Pride Month, as we mourn those we have lost, celebrate those who have newly come out, and support those who don’t yet feel comfortable coming out, we join the work to reimagine our normal.