UpLink Innovator Kenneth Kwok named Board Member and Vice President (Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion) of InterPride

Kenneth Kwok, Founder and President of Better Together Foundation, joins InterPride's Board of Directors

Kenneth Kwok, Founder and President of Better Together Foundation, joins InterPride’s Board

Better Together Foundation launches the LGBTQI Wheel of Sustainability in the Decade of Action for SDG

Better Together Foundation launches the LGBTQI Wheel of Sustainability in the Decade of Action for SDG

InterPride initiated the Racism and Oppression Awareness Program in 2020 for its 350 global members

InterPride initiated the Racism and Oppression Awareness Program in 2020 for its 350 global members

Kenneth Kwok, elected as Social Justice Innovator by the World Economic Forum UpLink Community, Aims to Amplify InterPride’s Global Reach to Realise Inclusion

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Equality through accessibility, diversity and inclusion can only be achieved when systemic change is realised. This is where private sector investment in financial and social inclusion is key.”

— Kenneth Kwok, Founder and President, Better Together Foundation

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, January 13, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — As the world continues to grapple with the unprecedented global health crisis of COVID-19, the scale of the related global economic crisis is becoming increasingly clear. COVID-19 has exposed many of the structural and systemic issues disproportionately impacting marginalized populations, including people of colour, LGBTQI people, older people, refugees, migrants and more, who have been hit hardest by both coronavirus and the associated social distancing measures. The LGBTQI community, for example, has suffered from limited access to and de-prioritization of healthcare services, stigma and discrimination, violence and abuse, and a decrease in access to work during this crisis, as highlighted by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These barriers existed prior to the pandemic, and were quickly exacerbated as LGBTQI people sought protections and support in what has amounted to a full-blown humanitarian crisis for our communities.

With reference to youth, LGBTQI youth already had higher risk of mental health problems, and COVID-19 has both robbed them of access to supportive environments and increased negative contacts. Prior to the pandemic, LGBTQI youth have been found to be at significantly increased risk for depression, anxiety and attempting suicide. This correlates with the minority stress model, in which experiences of discrimination, rejection and violence are compounded, and can lead to negative mental health outcomes. Furthermore, young LGBTQI people already faced disproportionate rates of unemployment and homelessness. It is clear that the widespread anxiety, physical distancing and economic strain caused by COVID-19 have exacerbated these concerns, and created new, unique problems for many of them.

By joining the Board of InterPride and taking on this important Vice President role, Kenneth, Founder and President of Better Together Foundation, aims to accelerate systemic change with a triangular approach towards addressing: i) the roles of accessibility, diversity and inclusion, ii) social injustice brought on by racism and oppression, and iii) the importance of allyship in creating sustainable change.

How to Accelerate Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion?

InterPride leverages the power of the community, both across the public and private sectors, to promote a culture of respect and equality and take wider responsibility not just for the impact they have on their employees lives but also on the broader communities in which they operate.

As a community of more than 350 pride organisations globally, InterPride has the ability to advance change in the following three ways: (i) Operationalise the five United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination Against LGBTQI People and develop a knowledge platform for pride, human rights and quality organisations and businesses to advance and implement LGBTQI inclusion globally, (ii) Support committed leaders through InterPride’s 20 global regions in accelerating LGBTQI workplace inclusion and promoting human rights for all, and (iii) Share best practices and know-how to assist pride organisations as well as other community organisations in meeting their commitments and responsibilities to global LGBTQI equality.

How to Accelerate Change towards Systemic Racism and Oppression?

We are at a historic moment in the fight against systemic racism and oppression. There is a wider moral recognition that some things in our society are fundamentally wrong and a broader understanding of the need to address the root causes of these ills. We have an opportunity to uproot systemic racism – and that starts with rediscovering what has been forgotten and revaluing what has been systematically devalued.

I believe social entrepreneurs will have a central role to play in this regard by driving localized solutions; for example, by creating access to affordable finance for initiatives that can improve livelihoods for future generations of those oppressed and marginalized. In this way we can build a new narrative for the continent and create systems that value people, and their happiness and wellbeing, while balancing profits.

How to Accelerate Allyship?

InterPride recognizes that progress achieved for the betterment of the global LGBTQI community has relied on the strong support of our allies. As LGBTQI individuals live every single day in their queer identities, allies could strive to also make their allyship a daily commitment. This means shutting down homophobic or transphobic rhetoric even when passed as jokes among friends. It means taking the time to educate your ignorant friends and family members on the need to respect LGBQTI identities. It means standing up for LGBTQI persons when they are harassed, victimized or attacked. It means refusing to support businesses that disrespect and abuse queer people. It means withdrawing support from politicians linked to anti-LGBTQI policies.

In addition, it means respecting people’s pronouns and how they have chosen to identify. It means pushing for policies that protect LGBTQI people in your workplace. It could also mean something as simple as recommending literature focusing on queer people to your book club, or making your place of worship welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, or demanding that the school makes its curriculum and facilities inclusive to trans children.

Kenneth, as a member of the Global Innovators Community of World Economic Forum, a Youth Council member of World Humanitarian Forum, and founder and advisor of various impact and non-profit organizations, is in an ideal position to take upon this role to bring forth accessibility, diversity and inclusion, not only for LGBTQI individuals and families, but also for all our allies who face racism, oppression and discrimination. 50 years after the Stonewall riots, the global LGBTQI community still faces huge challenges, and we need to innovate in our approach to help our youth tackle the issues around being out and proud, and live their lives to the fullest as who they are. Carrying the spirit as an UpLink Innovator, Kenneth seeks to connect the next generation of LGBTQI change-makers and social entrepreneurs to networks of leaders with the resources, expertise and experience to address equality and to advance well-being for the collective community.

Ethan McKinsey
Better Together Foundation
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