Celebrating an Alternative Thanksgiving with UofL and Humana’s Pride NRG

When you think about a holiday like Thanksgiving, do you picture yourself surrounded by family and loved ones? What would it feel like if you weren’t welcome at that celebration? For some in the LGBTQ community, that is their reality.

For the fourth year, the Pride NRG, Humana’s LGBTQ Associates and Allies Network Resource Group, is helping to make sure students at the University of Louisville can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with those that care about them and accept them within their community.

The UofL LGBT Center and LGBT Alumni Council host an Alternative Thanksgiving to encourage LGBTQ+ students to come as they are and celebrate the holiday. Many of these students are not allowed to return home for the holidays, or their identities are not supported at home and could cause harm by attending. The Pride NRG has partnered with these group to sponsor the turkey, dressing, and gravy for the celebration. They also encourage their members to volunteer to serve these young adults and the staff that supports them every day.

“The holiday celebrations can be stressful, perhaps even more so for LGBTQ+ young adults heading home for Thanksgiving,” said Basel Oakley, Process Improvement Professional and Associate Engagement & Development Co-Lead, Pride NRG. “We’re proud to again help the UofL LGBT Center create a welcoming environment where everyone can celebrate Thanksgiving exactly as they are.”

Each year, between 150 and 200 students attend the Alternative Thanksgiving, sharing potluck-style side dishes with each other. During the event, seniors graduating in December receive their rainbow pride graduation cords, and the winner of the Katy Garrison Award is announced, honoring a graduating senior that has held a leadership position with the UofL LGBT Center.

NRGs like Pride provide Humana’s employees with an opportunity for personal growth by enabling them to network across the organization and are a key component of building and maintaining a culture of inclusivity within the company. The Pride NRG is one of nine groups within Humana, helping employees understand and appreciate the diversity in all communities the company serves.

Read more about Humana’s Network Resources Groups here or in Humana’s 2016-2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

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