When the Business Times put a focus report on “The Business of Pride” on our editorial calendar last year, we were convinced that our corporate community had a story to tell about diversity in the workplace.
We held many discussions, internally and externally, trying to find the right balance between descriptive journalism, advocacy and the risk of outing gay, lesbian and transgender people and organizations who feared a backlash.
We were also following in the footsteps of business journals in Denver, the Bay Area and elsewhere, where Top 25 lists of LGBTQ+-owned companies are used as branding vehicles and for talent recruitment. Like our Business of Pride section, many are scheduled to appear during June, now identified nationwide as Pride Month.
The results of that preparation are contained in the issue of the Business Times you are holding in your hand or reading online. We found a corporate community that has largely embraced a diverse workforce, with Deckers Brands, tech, biotech, financial services companies and professional services firms across the Tri-Counties embracing workplace diversity.
We found many parents with adult children who have identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community, eager for a supportive workplace for their families to grow. And we found a small cluster of nonprofits trying to advocate on LGBTQ+ issues, though some are still concerned about backlash on social media and other formats.
We’re not in the business of trying to out hardworking entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to promote their businesses as LGBTQ+-owned, so a Top 25 list will have to wait for another day.
But given the current national debate about social justice and human rights, we’re proud to have launched the Business of Pride in 2020.
TIME TO CHANGE THE SIGN
It would be fine with us if the events of 2020 swept away the “Sambos” sign on one of Santa Barbara’s iconic beachside restaurants.
The now defunct Sambos chain was founded in Santa Barbara and it’s original restaurant location still operates on Cabrillo Boulevard just across from West Beach.
As has been recounted a number of times by former executives still living in the area, the original name was a mash-up of the names of its founders, Sam and Bo, and not a reference to a children’s book now widely derided for racial stereotyping.
But the impression that the name Sambo’s leaves with tourists has left a bad taste for years. Recently, Rashelle Monet, an area entrepreneur, has come up with a capitalistic way to make a permanent change.
She’s working on a fundraising campaign to rebrand the restaurant — everything from menus to napkins and signage.
We hope the campaign succeeds and the new owner Chad Stevens is able to make a go of it and keep the mid-century design of the signage intact as the letters change. Contribute at www.gofundme.com/f/helpsambosrebrand/.