In an act of acknowledgement, commitment and solidarity, 36 staff and carers from Life Without Barriers marched in the 39th Sydney Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday 4 March 2017.
“Life Without Barriers strives to champion opportunity and equality for all, so being part of such a public celebration alongside the LGBTQI community and other likeminded organisations to support the needs and wellbeing of our diverse community and vulnerable populations was a real honour,” said Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs. “I was both proud and moved to march with our staff, their partners and wonderful carers in our very first Mardi Gras Parade. We will be back again.”
The energy was electric, with an amazing diversity of people from the LGBTQI community including not-for-profit, corporate, sporting and political organisations, all celebrating and supporting each other under the common theme of this years’ Mardi Gras – EQUALITY!
“There was such a feeling of joy and acceptance as enormous crowds celebrated equality, diversity and inclusion together,” said Life Without Barriers Diversity and Inclusion Manager Fiona Davies. “How we translate this spirit of inclusion and diversity to our employees, clients and wider community going forward is where the real impact will be.”
“There was such a feeling of joy and acceptance as enormous crowds celebrated equality, diversity and inclusion together,”
— Life Without Barriers Diversity and Inclusion Manager Fiona Davies
Our inclusive and diverse workforce was in full voice and colour at our first Mardi Gras participation, and our Talent and Attraction Manager David Meere couldn’t have been prouder, “Our participation in the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras demonstrated our genuine commitment to an inclusive, open and welcoming environment for our employees, carers and volunteers. We have already received calls from applicants letting us know they saw our people at Mardi Gras and were keen to apply for opportunities with us because of this.”
Encouraging equality and diversity is not new to Life Without Barriers. “We have been recruiting LGBTQI Foster Carers for the past 23 years but we haven’t been visibly celebrating it enough,” said Manager Carer Recruitment Design Strategy and Engagement Deanne Carroll. “Life Without Barriers has always understood the benefit of having a wide diversity of families to care for children from a diversity of backgrounds. And the positivity demonstrated at Mardi Gras, by the hundreds of thousands in attendance, supports our position on welcoming the LGBTQI community into the Life Without Barriers Foster Care family. Mardi Gras gave us an opportunity to celebrate who we are and what we value.”
The final word, however needs to go to Karyen Teal, Jo Forwood and their daughter Brittany who marched in solidarity with us as lesbian mums and proud foster carers, “Walking with Life Without Barriers wasn’t just about the colour or the parading down the street. As Foster Carers, it was about coming together as a united group to be the public face of the organisation to say ‘we are here and we need you too’. As we danced our way from beginning to end it was us making our statement that people matter and Life Without Barriers are here to help everyone see that.”
We can’t wait to go bigger and bolder in 2018!
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