Inclusivity in Action: Starship Technologies Rolling with Pride in LA | by Reid Zura | Starship Technologies

Black Starship Logo over a pastel rainbow gradient

At Starship Technologies, inclusivity and diversity are more than just words; they are deeply ingrained into our values. This year, we are thrilled to embrace these values and announce we are participating in the historic and world-famous LA Pride Parade!

For the very first time, our team and Starship Robots will be proudly marching in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a profound demonstration of our unwavering support and commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment where every employee can thrive exactly as who they are.

As our Starship Robots roll onto the vibrant and lively streets of Los Angeles, we aim to make a resounding statement at LA Pride. This momentous occasion aligns perfectly with our recently launched core value: “We love that you are different, it makes us one of a kind.” By participating in the Pride Parade, we not only embody this core value but also reaffirm our dedication to cultivating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels empowered to be their authentic selves.

To lead our participation in this iconic event, we have carefully selected three outstanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ambassadors. These remarkable individuals will provide valuable insights into what Pride means to them personally and why they are passionate about marching alongside the LGBTQ+ community.

Through their thoughtful responses, you will gain a deeper understanding of our shared motivation and the profound significance of Starship’s presence at the Pride Parade. We invite you to join us as we celebrate diversity, embrace inclusion, and demonstrate our commitment to building a more equitable and accepting world.

Meet Quyen Huynh (She/Her), US Human Resource Manager:

  1. What motivated you to join the Pride Parade?
  • I choose to march at the Pride Parade each year to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+’s communities, voices, and history.

2. Why is it important for you to participate in this event?

  • Representation matters. As a first generation student and child of immigrant parents — who decided to further push myself onto many more minority groups by identifying as a lesbian and marrying a deaf wife, I had SO much going for me at the start of my coming out of the closet journey (if you cannot tell)! Jokes aside, it was honestly scary and at times, overwhelming not being able to relate to my fellow 3 queers within my high school bubble because my story seemed so far-fetched from the rest. That was until I attended my very first Pride Parade in Seattle back in 2012. Seattle’s Pride Parade was where I met and connected with so many Asian Americans who shared the same struggles as myself (…coming out to their parents, getting shunned from the family and kicked out of the house, and the list goes on). Now THAT was our coming out story wedged in between two parentheses; sure, it may not make sense to most, but it made sense to us. Pride has allowed me to find a home I never knew I had. Pride also gave me a voice. It’s important to me (and my wife) to use the voice we have, to show up as our authentic selves and reclaim the rights and freedoms we were and still currently are denied, for the generations of queers & baby gays who are still discovering their voices. Visibility is critical and that is why our participation is important at the Pride marches.

3. What does it mean to you that Starship has given you this opportunity to be a leader for this event?

  • It has been an honor to get to march alongside Starship at Pride. As a leader, I’m eager to bring the spotlight on civil rights issues while gaining the opportunity to gather all sorts of amazing Starshippers from all walks of life to come and celebrate our authentic selves at this event.

4. What does Pride symbolize to you?

  • Pride symbolizes love and acceptance, giving our people freedom to identity and expression while promoting equality, visibility, and justice.
Quyen and her wife Amy posing for a photo in white wedding gowns after their elopement in the Northern Cascades
“08/18/21 — Love wins! Amy and I, doing what we do best, chasing sunsets in the mountains. Elopement in the Northern Cascades.”

Meet Elda Velazquez Martinez (She/Her), US Support Manager:

  1. What motivated you to join the Pride Parade?
  • The past and those who have left because of the violence they suffered for being who they were

2. Why is it important for you to participate in this event?

  • I can make a change in society, we all deserve the same rights and respect

3. What does it mean to you that Starship has given you this opportunity to be a leader for this event?

  • I feel important to represent a company that gives visibility to this movement and that supports diversity and inclusion

4. What does Pride symbolize to you?

  • Embracing my true self with boldness and being unapologetic about who I am. Symbolizes being comfortable with my identity and demanding acceptance from others.
Elda smiling in front of Public Art “Urban Light” in LA
Elda on one of her many adventures!

Meet Reid Zura (He/Him), Global Social Media Specialist:

  1. What motivated you to join the Pride Parade?
  • I am joining Starship at the Pride Parade to celebrate and embrace my own identity while elevating the voices of those in the LGBTQ+ community around the world. Pride Parades are a powerful platform for visibility, acceptance, and solidarity. It’s an opportunity for me to express pride in who I am, while also advocating for equality and the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals across the globe.

2. Why is it important for you to participate in this event?

  • I have only ever participated in one other Pride event before, last year’s NYC Pride Parade. For the first time in my life, I felt what it meant to be part of a larger community that shares similar experiences, challenges, and aspirations. I could connect with other people who have gone through a series of hardships by simply being who they are and celebrate our shared resilience. Secondly, I am honored to be able to participate in this event, because it is a privilege. We live in a world where queer voices are still being silenced or ignored. I attend for those who can’t, and I believe participating in the Pride Parade helps raise visibility and awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, contributing to the ongoing fight for equality and social progress.

3. What does it mean to you that Starship has given you this opportunity to be a leader for this event?

  • Marching alongside my coworkers and representing our company, it sends a powerful message of inclusivity and support. It shows that my workplace values diversity and embraces employees for who they are, regardless of sexual orientation. The fact that I have been selected to be a leader in this event is an honor. It shows that my company not only values me as an employee but also recognizes the importance of LGBTQ+ representation and allyship. It signifies that they are committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment where employees can come as they are and bring their whole selves to work. Being entrusted with this responsibility makes me feel empowered and respected, and it reinforces my sense of belonging within the organization.

4. What does Pride symbolize to you?

  • To me, Pride is a celebration of authenticity, resilience, and progress. It symbolizes the freedom to love and express oneself without fear or shame. Pride is a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices of those who came before us, who fought for LGBTQ+ rights and paved the way for greater acceptance and equality. But it also signifies a call to action that we’re not done. It also represents a call to action, urging us all to continue working towards a future where everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Reid holding a hand-sized pride flag at his first ever pride in NYC in 2022
Reid at his very first Pride in NYC’s 2022 Pride Parade!

As we eagerly prepare to march at LA Pride, we are filled with a sense of joy, purpose, and unity. This milestone moment for Starship Technologies symbolizes our unwavering commitment to celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion.

Through the voices of our DEI ambassadors, we have gained valuable insights into what Pride means to them personally, and their passion for this event is contagious. Their stories and perspectives have deepened our understanding of the significance of Pride and the importance of standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

As we take this bold step forward, we invite you to join us in celebrating diversity, embracing inclusivity, and advocating for a world where every individual is accepted for who they are. Together, let’s create a future where love, respect, and acceptance know no boundaries.

We are immensely proud to be part of the LA Pride Parade for the first time ever, and we hope that our presence serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring others to champion diversity and create workplaces and communities where everyone can thrive.

The journey is just beginning. Together, we will continue to foster a world where differences are celebrated, and love triumphs over prejudice.

Starship is honored to participate in the Pride Parade, and we look forward to sharing this remarkable experience with you. Let’s make history together and pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

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