For many of us, this June marks a welcome return to the predictable: sowing season has passed, and along with it, unnatural weather and words from Washington on trade, tariffs, and HoS regulations. We know all we can know about what comes next: Ice cream sales will double from their December trough. We will plan and manage the start of produce season. Capacity will tighten, weather delays will mercifully decline, and our child care spend and freight spend will rise in tandem.
We will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, a moment which galvanized a generation of LGBT Americans to assert their independence with uncompromising, unapologetic fierceness.
Thanks to their struggle, and that of countless others before and since, members of the LGBT community have freedom to live their lives more fully, and that includes playing critical roles up and down the supply chain. In the U.S. today, the buying power of the LGBT community stands at nearly $1 trillion per year. LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity programs dominate the Fortune 500, from Ford Motor Co. to Northrop Grumman. 3.5 million American truckers of every gender, color, and sexual orientation power the American economy. They inherit a promise older than Channel 19: Dignity belongs to anyone and everyone who delivers on time.
The tools of the trade have changed, but the spirit of our industry remains the same: Results matter. In logistics, we’ve never had the luxury of letting brains and grit idle in the yard when there is work to be done. We’ve seen every mile of America; met everyone who lives here; and before they bought it, we brought our neighbors everything they eat, drink, assemble, install, sleep on, work with, and give to the ones they love on the holidays they celebrate together.
Though we all have our own prejudices to overcome, our profession often lifts us beyond them. We’re not superior, though from truck cabs to corner offices, we all strive for excellence. We break barriers no one else has the guts to break: Before LGBT Americans came out in the boardroom, they came out in a power unit, and supported their families despite the scorn of their neighbors and their government. Luella Bates drove a truck before she could vote, and established safety and maintenance procedures before the first FMCSA regulator was hired. Mary Fields joined the U.S. Postal Service at age 60 on a team lane. She drove six horses and a mule. She liked whiskey and cigars. She was born a slave. She died free and proud.
There is one thing that the logistics industry has always allowed, protected, respected, demanded, and cherished: hard work. We ask everyday heroes to rise from every square mile of our country. At FourKites, that defines who we are, the people we serve, and how we serve them. When we succeed, we do so for the same reason as anyone in our industry: with our diversity and our drive, we deliver.
Bold, meek, tall, short, trans, cis, gay, straight, women, men, strange, or even normal? We share the same road, and between the lot of us, we’ve seen it all—in every timezone. What do we have in common? We do our jobs, so our customers can do theirs.
We couldn’t do it without the LGBT members of our community. From blood and bricks to honor and dignity, we have come a long way. I am proud to count myself among them—and equally proud to say that when it comes to welcoming exceptional work from everyone, FourKites is in it for the long haul, and so am I.