Tag Archives: AIDS

Serving More than Coffee & Happiness

28 Mar

Starbucks raised eyebrows in 2005 when they began publishing famous quotes on coffee cups as part of its “The Way I See It” campaign. Among those were Armistead Maupin, whose Tales of the Series profiled San Francisco’s homosexual community during the 1970s and 80s. “My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long,” Maupin said. “I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.”

Social responsibility has long been at the forefront of the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. Starbucks for years has been an ally and supporter of the community through diversity hiring programs and charitable donations. Their Starbucks Pride Alliance Partner Network works to “effect positive change and increase awareness of the LGBT community within Starbucks” and create an “equitable, dynamic, and supportive environment for LGBT partners, allies and customers.”

Their support for gay pride parades also extends into the workplace, where employees have the option of wearing a “Starbucks Pride” t-shirt while on the job. The Human Rights Campaign has repeatedly listed Starbucks among its Best Places to Work, having received a 100% Corporate Equality Index. Its non-discrimination policies are impressive, listing sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class. Benefits offered to same-sex partners are equal to those offered to opposite-sex partners, even offering short-term leave following surgical procedures and mental health counseling for its transgender employees.

Starbucks’ most enduring legacy may be its partnership with Product Red, a campaign formed in 2006 to help raise awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Beginning during the 2008 holiday season, Starbucks donated 5 cents of every holiday-themed drink sold to Project Red, raising enough money to provide AIDS medicine to 3,800 people for one year. Their involvement has continued ever since, and as recently as World AIDS Day on December 1, 2010, Starbucks donated 5 cents of every drink to Project Red.

Starbucks’ continued activism and philanthropy has helped raise millions of dollars for charity and invaluable awareness for a community it doesn’t take for granted. Starbucks remains a compassionate business, and in contrast to corporations such as Target and Chick-Fil-A, that’s something we can all feel good about.

So the next time you reach for your morning cup of joe or afternoon wake-me-up, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re supporting an ally.

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In Memorium

23 Mar

“Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.”

We pause today to remember a truly remarkable talent. Elizabeth Taylor, whose unparalleled beauty made her a Hollywood fixture for much of her life, has passed away at the age of 79.

Though she will undoubtedly be remembered for her show-stopping performances and a personal life marked by glamor and controversy, Elizabeth will also be remembered for her remarkable off-screen humanitarian work.

A tireless supporter of the LGBT community and a fierce AIDS advocate, Taylor established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991 and has helped raise more than $50 million worldwide.

“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”

Taylor was for years a visible fixture in the gay community. She was a friend, an ally, and one of the last remaining icons of a Hollywood long gone.

Taylor used her larger-than-life star power for unquestionable good. As the movie roles became fewer and fewer, Taylor selflessly dedicated her life to a noble and tragic cause. She was the epitome of elegance and classic beauty, a one-of-a-kind starlet who lived in the spotlight for more than a generation. Yet underneath all the glitz and glamor, Taylor was – like all of us – a human being. A kind soul dedicated to making the world a better place and spreading a ray of sunshine for all to aspire to.

You leave us today, but your activism and unique spirit will not soon be forgotten.

One last time, here’s to you Dame Elizabeth. Thank you.

“I hope with all of my heart that in some way I have made a difference in the lives of people with AIDS. I want that to be my legacy. Better that than for the mole on my cheek.”