If you’re going to Pride this weekend, look out for the British Red Cross and say hello! Evy Bauwens and Olivia Cummins, who will be at Pride in London, explain why they are going.
“One of the Red Cross’ core values is to be inclusive,” Evy said.
“I think Pride is a key way to show our staff, volunteers, service users and donors – and the world – that inclusion is really important to us.”
Pride is an annual celebration for every part of the LGBT+ community and everyone who supports them.
Pride events throughout the UK give people the chance to celebrate what the LGBT+ community has achieved and what is yet to be done. Events include people of every race and faith, and disabled and non-disabled people.
Around 30 British Red Cross staff and volunteers from across the UK are coming together at the London Pride parade.
Many charities and companies take part in Pride, including some Red Cross corporate partners.
“I think it’s an important moment for our people to come together, show support and feel like one community,” Evy said.
A deep connection
“I wanted to work for the Red Cross since I was little,” Evy shared.
Evy first volunteered with the Red Cross in Belgium to support refugees.
As a British Red Cross volunteer, she then helped reunite families separated by conflict or disaster. After that, Evy joined our staff as an administrator.
“I really like how the Red Cross works, with an international Movement and National Societies to support their own countries.
“Supporting people in crisis is something that I want to do.
“The more diverse the people who work with us are – and we work with – the better and more effective our work will be.”
A history of diversity
The Red Cross was founded when a Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant, mobilised a community to help injured soldiers from both sides of a war.
Neutrality, inclusion and diversity, as well as compassion, have been central values for the Red Cross since the beginning.
This carries over into our work in the UK, where volunteers and staff from many different backgrounds support others across communities.
“I think engaging with diverse communities is the value of taking part,” said Olivia Cummins, diversity project assistant.
“There are communities in the UK who can offer so much to the Red Cross. Yet they may not know about us and we may not know about them,” she said.
“There are also people who need our support. We refuse to ignore people in crisis but sometimes we may not reach everyone because of this lack of knowledge.
“We can spread the word to more people and help get the understanding we need by taking part in events like Pride.”
Banners, crowns and what we’re doing right
Olivia would encourage anyone to attend Pride.
“You can march in the parade with us or support the Red Cross from the side lines.
“This is the first time that the British Red Cross is taking part in the parade since 2009 so it should be a big event,” Olivia said.
Red Cross staff and volunteers are also taking part in Pride events in Glasgow and other places in the UK.
Evy, for one, is looking forward to carrying the ‘Go team Red Cross’ banner in London.
“One of my colleagues from a Red Cross office in another part of the country is coming and we’ll have fun together,” she said.
“I’ve made flower crowns for both of us to wear in the parade.”
“We want to get people interested in diversity,” Olivia said.
“It’s an important issue because it’s not just about what we’re doing wrong. It’s also about what we’re doing right.
“And Pride is a great way to celebrate this.”