Images courtesy of Quorum
Quorum’s National Coming Out Day luncheon will look a bit different this year, but their LGBTQ+ pride will be anything but quiet.
“We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets.” -Harvey Milk
These famous, powerful words are the inspiration behind this year’s luncheon with Quorum, the LGBTQ+ and Allied chamber of commerce for Minnesota, for National Coming Out Day, which is on Sunday, October 11. The 27th annual luncheon will be on Friday, October 9 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Our community luncheon gives voice to the power of living openly, honestly, and with authenticity at work, in our families, in our faith communities, and across our lives,” says Rebecca Waggoner, executive director of Quorum. “The realities of living an authentic life are deeper than being "out". We all have many layers of identity and we must work together to create a world where people can bring their “whole self” to everything they do.”
Quorum’s National Coming Out Day luncheon serves as a celebration of both individuality and community, something that is even more important this year during COVID-19 isolation.
“The tide of history will continue to change only when we honor our identities with pride and live with joy, openness, and truth. Coming out STILL MATTERS. Every person who speaks up continues to change hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality,” Waggoner says. “We hope you will join us as our community celebrates the strength, courage and wisdom of LGBTQ+ and Allied people who have braved their own unique journeys to now live openly and authentically… and with pride.”
Because of the current pandemic, Waggoner says they made the decision to go entirely virtual for this year’s luncheon to protect the health of the community.
“Rather than hosting a large 800+ in-person gathering, we have gone completely virtual. Keeping our community as safe as possible is our utmost priority. Using the new conference app Hopin, we are not only able to have an amazing panel of speakers that we can now share all over the country, but we have also added an LGBTQ+ and Allied Business Summit,” Waggoner says. “The Summit provides crucial education and support to our members and stakeholders and is designed to be highly interactive. Additionally, as in past years, we are also hosting a Vendor Expo. This year it will be virtual and allows participants to interact safely with our amazing members and supporters.”
While Quorum has been around for twenty-five years, and therefore evolved quite a bit, Waggoner says two things have remained true: the community and dedication to LGBTQ+ folks.
“We are truly—what I like to call—a Quorum Village. We are there for each other through all of life’s celebrations and through difficult times,” she says. “And we continue to drive value to our members with things like LGBT Business Certification, education events, and networking. However, we are doing it on a much bigger scale these days.”
Quorum also now awards two scholarships with PFund Foundation to LGBTQ+ students pursuing education in business and entrepreneurship, as an investment in the next generation of business leaders.
Because community is so vital to Quorum, Waggoner says it became clear pretty early on that COVID-19 would have serious impacts on the business community.
“As the pandemic has increased in severity, we have seen businesses close temporarily and permanently; we have seen significant unemployment across all sectors; and we have seen the toll on the LGBTQ+ community as they isolate and shelter in place,” she says. “We started a new series, Thrive Thursday, which provides insight, training, and support on topics related to business during emergent situations. These are free via Zoom each week over the lunch hour. Additionally, we are providing our members with links to resources to support their businesses.”
Lastly, Quorum is continuing to have its networking and education events (via Zoom, of course) to maintain relationships with others in the LGBTQ+ community, which is especially important now.
“We want you and your business to weather the storm and know that Quorum has your back,” Waggoner adds.
To register for Quorum’s virtual National Coming Out Day luncheon, you can sign up for free at hopin.to/events/quorum-s-2020-national-coming-out-day-luncheon-and-conference. For more information about Quorum, visit twincitiesquorum.com.