This past Sunday, I was pleased and proud to lead our Company’s delegation of over 100 volunteers at the annual Pride Parade through downtown Atlanta.  Though rain clouds threatened earlier, the day turned out to be as  sunny and festive as the atmosphere.  I was doubly pleased to ride in our group’s lead convertible with my daughters, Sydney and Taylor, and a couple of their friends.

Our Company’s partnership with Atlanta and other community Pride events is a fitting culmination of many great “wins” for us as we deepen external partnerships with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and reaffirm unwavering support for our own colleagues, family and friends.  I am proud that this year, in addition to Atlanta Pride, our Company partnered in Pride celebrations throughout the country from Florida and New York to Miami, Tulsa and Los Angeles. 

This year, our Company formally announced that beginning in 2015, the Company would “gross up” taxes for all eligible active U.S. employees whose same-sex spouse or partner is enrolled in health benefits and live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. This will help defray the additional taxes that same-sex spouses or partners pay for these benefits.

This past week, we welcomed the GLAAD Board of Directors to our Atlanta Office Complex and were pleased to host their meetings. 

Finally, we were happy to announce that our colleague, Lisa Borders, VP of Community Relations, graciously accepted my request that she serve as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Business Resource Group’s (LGBTA BRG’s) executive sponsor. 

We have made great strides this year.  We have more work to do.

Please join me in thanking and congratulating our colleagues on the Diet Coke brand team, Lauren Radow and Melissa Schwartz; Daneyni Sanguinetti from Multicultural Marketing; Sandy Blumberg from CCNA Sports, Entertainment & Community Marketing; Jay McMinn and Mary Beth Mendoza of the LGBTA BRG; and countless others who volunteered to make Atlanta Pride a big success.

Now, don’t forget to join me on GLAAD Spirit Day, Thursday, October 16, in wearing purple to show support for our LGBT associates and take a stand against bullying.

As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, Coca-Cola values and celebrates diversity. That’s why, today, we are supporting The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in their efforts to promote Spirit Day – a day where millions of people “go purple” to show their support for LGBT youth. Spirit Day began in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBT youth and encourages people to take a stand against bullying.

Today, we’re turning Coca-Cola’s Journey purple as a show of support for LGBT youth. We also have some personal stories from two of our associates who have overcome bullying in their lives. Check them out here:

My Bullying Story: Growing Up Gay in Pakistan
Bullying: An Unnecessary Evil

To learn more, please visit GLAAD’s Spirit Day website: