TriPrideTN, tricities, LGBTQ

TriPrideTN To Focus on Community Building

TRI-CITIES, Tenn.  ̶  TriPrideTN is a new nonprofit organization formed to build a stronger and more inclusive community across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. TriPrideTN celebrates the LGBTQ community and welcomes their allies, supportive nonprofit organizations, faith congregations, and local businesses.

Founder George Chamoun is one of more than 30 members who in four months quickly built TriPrideTN from concept to formation to an active 501(c)(3) nonprofit. He often anticipates the most obvious question about TriPrideTN in conversations with people who have never heard the name.

“Why the need for TriPrideTN?” Chamoun asked. “Because we need an organization that celebrates and welcomes the LGBTQ community and all who love and support them. Because we recognize that there’s a general undercurrent of divisiveness in our country; anyone who spends time on social media sees and feels it on a daily basis. That divisiveness is disheartening. It’s counterproductive. It drives unnecessary wedges between us.

“TriPrideTN can provide a sense of belonging for people who need it, and it can heal some of the divisiveness by bringing people together to share different perspectives and experiences, as well as our commonalities. Our members believe we live in a great region – and we feel a shared responsibility to help make it even better.”

For those who want to make a difference, TriPrideTN asks that they circle a date on their calendar: September 15, 2018.

On that day, TriPrideTN will host an inaugural event where everyone in the Tri-Cities can feel comfortable and welcome as part of our community. The September event will feature a parade in downtown Johnson City which will end with an afternoon festival in Johnson City’s Founders Park. TriPrideTN’s focus is to help create a better community that everyone can be proud to call home. Communities across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have been invited to participate with the planning and fundraising for this family-friendly celebration.

Studies support the need for TriPrideTN. In 2015, McKinsey & Company published a report titled Diversity Matters. Like other studies, it highlights the relationship between high performing teams and inclusive environments enabled by the opportunity to focus on differences in order to overcome their biases. There is an opportunity to increase the feelings of inclusion in Tri-Cities to make us more productive neighbors. This is sometimes referred to as the diversity dividend which impacts both our community and businesses.

TriPrideTN’s goal also includes building deeper connections with many organizations across the Tri-Cities region – especially focusing on the business & industry community, visitor and business development departments and communities of faith.

Chamoun, who is one of five elected board members of TriPrideTN said the group is excited to work with all individuals who want to make our region better through better inclusion and understanding.

“This is a new and independent organization that wants to work across the community with clearly articulated realizable goals,” Chamoun said. “When we all work together toward building a more inclusive community, it’s good for business and good for people.”

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