Our next Pride Month spotlight features Melissa Davis, office coordinator and executive assistant in Jabian’s Atlanta office!

Melissa, a dedicated member of Jabian’s Equality Team, has not only been a champion for diversity and equality within the workplace but has also been an active ally and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. Her commitment to fostering an inclusive environment is truly an inspiration. She actively participates in LGBTQIA+ advocacy events, volunteers with local organizations, and engages in meaningful conversations to promote understanding and acceptance within her broader community.

Q: What does celebrating Pride Month mean to you?

A: For me, Pride Month celebrations serve not only as a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community to express their pride but also as a beacon of hope for those who may not yet feel comfortable or safe coming out due to fear of rejection from friends and loved ones. It saddens me to think that if Pride celebrations had been more prevalent in Texas during the late 1980s and early 90s, my dear friend Corey might still be with us today. At just 20 years old, Corey was faced with the impossible choices of coming out and losing his mother’s love or living in the closet and denying his true self. Tragically, Corey chose to end his life, and even after his death, his mother refused to accept that he was gay.

Because of this, I am especially inspired by Sara Cunningham, the founder of the “Free Mom Hugs” movement which aims to show love, support, and acceptance to the LGBTQIA+ community, “one hug at a time”, and to educate families with the hope of reconciling relationships. Sara’s first hug was given in 2015 to a young woman who had not received a hug from her own mother in four years. From that moment on, Sara vowed to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community loudly and proudly. I gave my first Free Mom Hug during the 2019 Pride celebrations in Atlanta. As one of my favorite ways to celebrate Pride, it brings me immense joy to proudly wear a Free Mom Hugs t-shirt and offer hugs to anyone who may be missing the love and acceptance of a mother figure. So, wherever I am and whoever may need it, know that I am ready and willing to offer a heartfelt embrace.

Melissa Davis Collage