Natural foods chef Juan Pablo Chavez works as a demo coordinator in our Union Square store.
After years of cheering from the sidelines, I grabbed my partner and a Carmen Miranda headdress and finally got a chance to make my debut in NYC's Gay Pride Parade thanks to Whole Foods Market. For the first time, we fielded a merry band of team members from all the Northeast Regional stores to march down famed 5th Avenue. We represented a variety of teams-from Prepared Foods to Whole Body, from Bakery to Marketing-and all wore specially designed rainbow colored t-shirts for the 4-mile march on June 28.
Our marching team joined the 500,000 other participants and nearly 1 million spectators in the march that is now New York City's largest. The 40th Annual NYC Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Pride March (www.nycpride.org
) commemorated the beginning of the LGBT civil rights movement that started as a protest at a Greenwich Village bar named Stonewall in 1969.
As a company, Whole Foods Market has always been committed to the health and happiness of all its customers and team members, including providing domestic partner benefits. So it was even more special that we encouraged team members to bring along their partners to march. Even the Regional President Christina Minardi with her partner and kids showed up to support the group! Priscilla Helen and her colleagues from the Tribeca store took the lead in rounding up all the samples we handed out along the route-everything from coconut water to moisturizer, from organic chocolate to olive oil.
It was amazing to see the diversity of the crowd lining the route-tourists and families with children cheering in Midtown, groups of 30-something gay men and women applauding in the Flatiron District, and LGBT youth waving rainbow flags along Christopher Street.
When not blowing bubbles and stopping for pictures in our fruity headdresses, my partner and I yelled out a cheeky chant, "Whole Foods loves fruits!" The crowd overwhelmingly responded with cheers, laughter, applause and often this reply, "We love Whole Foods!" Now that's something to take Pride in!