Opinion piece - Sam Sutherland is Vodafone's Social Media Advisor, and gives us his behind the scenes take on Vodafone's first Pride parade march.
The year is off to an eventful start. The Auckland Pride Festival is upon us, and Vodafone is joining the parade for the first time this year.
The day is finally here, although it’s come up very fast, and the Rainbow Whānau is frantically working around the clock to make it all happen. T-shirts and banners are coming in from the printers just in time. We’ve whipped down the shops to pick up a harness for our drag queen to wear on the back of our truck, and we’ve got our marshals to keep us all in check (safety first!).
Everything has fallen into place and suddenly we’re on Ponsonby Road, queued up for our big debut! Juliet, Antony and Matt, from our executive leadership have turned out with a heap of our Vodafone Rainbow Whānau, and their friends and family. The music is pumping, and we’re ready to take off.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just cut the ribbon, and stealthily snuck past us back to the Labour Party float, and we begin to trickle down Ponsonby Road as the floats in front of us figure out their pace.
The streets are absolutely packed, with rows of people the whole way down the road, everyone cheering us on.
Halfway down and we’ve all seen familiar faces in the crowd, giving us an extra loud cheer as we pass, Patricia is owning it in her balloon costume, complete with balloon wings, Darren is sporting his red wig, and Liam is putting on a show for Matty and the One News crew.
Jo and Bryony have got baby Daniel, and we even have our Pug of Pride! Then the battery on our speaker goes flat! Looks like we’ll have to make do with the Auckland Samba crew right behind us for our beat. Miss Geena up on the back of the ute is as Queen as she could be, waving to all of her subjects, putting on a such a show.
Suddenly, the sun has disappeared, and we’re almost at the end of the road. We exit stage left, and regroup to celebrate our first of many parades to come.
Everything is changing in this world, and I’m glad that I can be a part of accelerating that at Vodafone.
Representation in the workplace is important, and I’m glad that at Vodafone, we can bring our whole selves to work, we don’t have to hide any part of who we are for fear of discrimination. As Liva put it so well in the video above “People respect me for my ability, and not for what I am”.
I’m excited to work with the incredible people in the Rainbow Whānau for an even bigger and better celebration at next year’s Pride Parade. See you all there!