Editor’s note: In June, Best Buy is proud to honor Pride Month and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. Read on for the story of one of our employees.
If there’s one word to best describe Sherri-Dawn’s style, it’s rainbow.
“I always have my rainbow glasses,” the Texas-based, Best Buy delivery service driver said.
Though Sherri-Dawn regularly sports her multicolored accessories and, since joining the company in 2016, has participated in events for Best Buy’s Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG). But it wasn’t until recently that she decided Pride spirit wasn’t enough.
While on one of her routes for work, Sherri-Dawn stopped in a gas station and met a young man who complimented her glasses and colorful stickers. He shared that he identified as transgender and that his mother wouldn’t let him purchase any Pride attire.
“I got mad,” she said. “I know there are other kids his age or younger who don’t have someone that supports them.”
A safe space
With the gas station experience heavy on her heart, Sherri-Dawn knew she wanted to do more. And through volunteering with LGBTQ SAVES (Students, Allies, Volunteers, Educators, Support), a Texas-based organization that offers in-person and virtual safe spaces for youth across the country, she’s done just that.
From hosting weekly meetings and creating online activities to providing free shapewear and haircuts, LGBTQ SAVES helps youth ages 13 to 24 feel accepted and comfortable as their authentic selves.
One memory from Sherri-Dawn’s first few months volunteering with the organization that stands out.
When a young man needed a ride to a haircut appointment, Sherri-Dawn drove him. Though a small, simple moment, it nearly brought her to tears.
“It’s a haircut. For most people, it’s simple. But for him, it was helping him be his genuine self,” Sherri-Dawn explained.
More than a job
Part of what makes Sherri-Dawn so enthusiastic about her volunteerism with LGBTQ SAVES is her own identity and mental health struggles.
“I’d dealt with homophobia before I had really even come out,” she said.
At Best Buy, Sherri-Dawn has found mental health support through her leaders.
“There was one day I had to call in. I told my manager I needed a mental health day, and he said, ‘okay,’” Sherri-Dawn explained.
When Sherri-Dawn returned to work the next day, her manager pulled her aside to ask how she was doing and what her team could do to help.
“That support stuck with me,” she said. “This isn’t just retail, it’s a community.”
Celebrate with Pride
With Pride month in full swing, LGBTQ SAVES will be hosting a picnic in Fort Worth, Texas, this month, and Best Buy volunteers are invited to join.
“We’re hoping to have a huge turnout,” Sherri-Dawn explained.
Home Sales Senior Manager and Inclusion and Diversity leader Gillian St. John and HR Associate Manager Carolina Young are eager to see employees across multiple districts ready to volunteer with event setup, food serving and, most importantly, ensuring that the youth who attend have a safe experience.
Sherri-Dawn and Gillian are both in the Pride ERG and on the Territory 2 Inclusion and Diversity Steering Committee (IDSC), a group that refers to themselves as the “upstanders.”
“We support, protect and listen to those who are diverse to make them feel psychologically safe.”
Carolina seconded Gillian’s enthusiasm for the upcoming event. She used to work closely with Sherri-Dawn and recalls her bravery in sharing her experiences with prejudice in the workplace.
“Learning from her experience was eye-opening,” Carolina said. “Other employees are able to grab onto her courage.”
As Sherri-Dawn transitions to a remote internship with the Home Service team later this month, she’ll no doubt carry her passion for working with youth with her.
“My biggest goal for the work is for these kids to always know they have a family,” she said.