THE BLOG
12/29/2016 11:32 am ET Updated Dec 30, 2017

Good Corporate Citizens In 2016

A number of companies exemplified corporate social responsibility in 2016. Many corporate leaders are giddy about new business laws and policies under Trump's administration. The corporate benefits will surely improve their bottom line. They can also be good corporate citizens who give back to their communities, honor their employees who are often LGBTQ, people of color, and immigrants, and promote public policy protections.

For example, in 2013, the CEO of Verizon and a number of the nation's largest employers urged Congress to support of comprehensive immigration reform. Next year many companies can come through for us again. Communities and corporations can collaborate around common cause.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance promotes diversity and inclusion where we can all be safe, secure, and succeed. These companies have similar goals. NQAPIA has been so proud to work with so many company leaders and front-line employees who are Asian American, LGBT, and/or allies. Here's my list of the top corporations to be lauded in 2016.

Comcast/ NBC Universal for supporting LGBT API diversity and inclusion in the media
When Comcast and NBC Universal merged, they signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with leading African American, Latino, and Asian American organizations to guarantee diverse programming, an inclusive workforce, philanthropy, and community input. This year, NBC Universal featured diverse newsmakers and Comcast carried the lines of major Asian international channels (such as Sinovision and Television Korea Channel 24, and Zee TV) that aired NQAPIA and the Asian Pride Project's ground-breaking video commercials of Asian parents who love their LGBT kids. As NQAPIA's Media Sponsor, Comcast/ NBCU helped bring our message of family acceptance to 32 million Asian households across the country.

AT&T for speaking out for Black Lives Matter
CEO Randall Stephenson gave a forceful defense of Black Lives Matter in late September. He talked about the racial tensions pervading America today and the need for honest, yet difficult, conversations about race. His comments brought greater awareness to the experiences of African Americans, particularly those at the hands of police and law enforcement.

ABC-TV for inclusive entertainment programming
While the Oscars are so white, television has become so diverse. ABC has been at the forefront of reflecting the diversity of America. Shows like Fresh Off The Boat and How to Get Away With Murder have presented Asian Americans with more nuance and complexity. In How to Get Away With Murder, Oliver Hampton (played by read life gay Filipino actor Conrad Ricamora) is gay, Asian, HIV+, and who's partner takes PrEP. ABC is leading the way to present entertainment televisions tat both educates and reflects all of America

McDonald's for advertising that bring families together
McCafe Taiwan featured a moving video advertisement of a gay Taiwanese son coming out to his father. The son writes in Chinese on a coffee cup, "I like guys" and presents it to his dad. His dad says nothing, takes a moment, and gets his own cup of coffee leaving his son in anguish. Then he takes his son's coffee cup and inserts "I ^accept that you^ like guys." Then smiles break out for both of them. McCafe's ad was beautifully executed with cultural competency, respect and compassion. It highlighted the strength of Asian families and enhanced the visibility as LGBT Asian Americans, and those who love us.

Law Firms of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Hogan Lovells LLP, Dechert, Baker & McKenzie LLP, and Orrick for defending our community
Where would we be without lawyers? McDermott Will & Emery co-authored NQAPIA's amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in an immigrants' rights case that showed how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people. Hogan Lovells showed us how LGBT Asians can come under the public interest requirement of the Telecommunications Act in broadcast TV. The law firms of Dechert, Baker & McKenzie, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP opened up their offices and provided LGBT APIs opportunities to be all of who we are.

Verizon, Caesar's Entertainment/ Harrah's, Comcast/ NBCU, and Toyota Financial for their philanthropic support
Let me be honest and transparent, NQAPIA cannot do all the work that we do were it not for the generous support of our donors. Foundation grants are limited and highly restrictive. NQAPIA receives no government support. And individual donors are giving to more legal causes. Verizon, Caesar's Entertainment/ Harrah's, Comcast/ NBCU, and Toyota Financial have stood by the LGBT API community with their sponsorship dollars. They gave us the financial support that we needed to train a new generation of LGBT API leaders, build the capacity of local LGBT API groups, advocate and organize for our community, and promote visibility. So they made my list as good corporate citizens and I'm so grateful for their partnership and support.

Deutsche Bank, PayPal, Lionsgate, NBA, NCAA for boycotting North Carolina
The North Carolina legislature adopted (and recently failed to repeal) HB2 which put new restrictions on transgender people requiring them to use public restrooms matching the sex on their birth certificates, overturned local nondiscrimination protections, and limited local minimum wage ordinances. Several companies moved their events and cancelled expansions in the state in protest. They demonstrated that their bottom dollar cannot be made on the values of discrimination and intolerance.

These companies have led the way in doing the right thing. NQAPIA has been proud to have partnered with some of them. I salute them for their leadership, commitment to diversity, and courage to speak out for fairness and understanding.