The 42nd annual Seattle Pride Parade is set for June 26 along 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Among the participants will be Jim Barker, Training Specialist, who has marched every year since SCCA has started participating in 2010.
I am marching in the Seattle Pride Parade with SCCA because I am proud of the welcoming and affirming culture we have here. We are an organization full of dedicated employees that reflect the diverse nature of the Puget Sound community: straight, lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer.
I believe the power of diversity is essential when it comes to cancer care. By embracing the differences of the staff and faculty, the SCCA enhances the care we provide. Our patients can feel welcome here because there is likely someone in the organization who is like them and can share their perspective.
What is one message you would like to share on behalf of SCCA?
We all know that having cancer is hard enough without having to deal with the extra work of explaining to a care provider about what it means to be gay, or lesbian, or trans. And I feel like SCCA is a place where you don’t need to do that. We have an understanding and respect for all expressions, and are welcoming to all people.
The fact that we are involved in the gay pride parade, that we are marching, sends a strong message of our commitment to inclusion. In fact, just last year SCCA had the rainbow flag flying in front of the building. To me that demonstrates this message. Not only is SCCA one of the top academic cancer centers in the world, we also welcome you here. We are open to all the beautiful human beings and their rainbow of expressions.
Do you have anything to say to your SCCA family in general?
In recent years and especially in the last five years, SCCA has embraced diversity to a degree that I believe is ahead of most organizations; and SCCA has continued to demonstrate its commitment to equality.
To my colleagues, I would say, “Get out there! Join us!” This is an opportunity to represent Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. When you walk in this parade you see all the crowds cheering for us, and you might be lucky, like we have, to find that patient who runs up to us saying, “Thank you SCCA, you saved my life!” Anytime you volunteer for SCCA you get an opportunity to hear the most amazing stories of their lives and their love of SCCA.
It is a wonderful experience to come out as an ally at the Pride Parade. It’s another way we really do live up to our tag line, Better Together.
Jim Barker has been with SCCA since 2004 and works as a Training Specialist Lead in the Continuous Performance Improvement office, creating programs for employees to help them understand ways to improve their processes and create more patient and family centered care.