Connecting across our differences

By Belinda Johnson, Chief Operating Officer

June is widely appreciated as the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.  And summer, in any hemisphere, conjures up daydreams of travel—of summer family vacations and epic adventures.

June is also a month where diversity, acceptance and pride come more fully into view and today I want to highlight three important events that take place this month.

For the LGBTQ community and allies, June is Pride. It’s a special time to celebrate diversity and take a positive stance against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In opposition to shame and stigma, Pride invites visibility, self-affirmation, and dignity. We are disappointed by the recent Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, however we remain committed to doing our part to fight discrimination in an effort to ensure that our community remains open for all.

Airbnb has been a proud sponsor of the Sydney, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco Pride festivals. Last year, we joined the International Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association, the world’s leading global travel network dedicated to connecting and educating LGBTQ travelers.

We’re also a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Global Business Coalition – a consortium of major global businesses committed to upholding workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Airbnb is also proud to support the UN Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTQ People.

When acceptance has been threatened, we have joined advocates who have spoken out against legal cases that had the potential to undermine the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and we will continue to be a vocal and active supporter in these instances.

In the US, which I call home, this month we also celebrate Juneteentha holiday that commemorates the abolition of slaverywith a bicoastal celebration of music of the Black diaspora featuring one of our most popular Airbnb Experiences: The.WAV.

Alongside our media partner, Blavity, our Juneteenth celebration in NYC and LA will pay homage to the culture and melange of sounds created through the Black American experience.  

Last summer, Airbnb announced a partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—America’s oldest and largest national civil rights organization. Our partnership seeks to promote travel and offer new economic opportunities to communities of color in the US and build upon Airbnb’s efforts to make the platform and our community more inclusive.

After a successful launch in Miami earlier this year, this month, we will continue to build on our partnership with an additional local partnership in the Western US. This is just the beginning of a key partnership that will continue to strengthen diversity and inclusion in our community and allow us to continue to connect communities across differences.

We also celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month in June.

With a mission to help anyone belong anywhere, we’re all about promoting an open society that connects people across borders in a way that transforms both hosts and guests. That’s why we’ve set a goal to provide short-term housing to 100,000 people in need, starting with refugees, and contribute $4 million over the course of four years to the International Rescue Committee. We’ve also joined the Coalition for the American Dream alongside business and industry leaders to support Congressional lobbying efforts to protect Dreamers and find a permanent solution that they deserve. And for the last three years, we’ve partnered with welcome.us / I Am An Immigrant to spotlight stories that celebrate immigrants across our host community.

As we mark Pride, Juneteenth, and Immigrant Heritage Month, we will remember and honor the work that has been done to advance the cause of fairness and equality. Perhaps more importantly, we will also be mindful of how much more work we need to do to make this world a more trusting and tolerant place.  

No one company and no one community are going to end racism or discrimination. But people and brands of goodwill can make a positive difference, especially in travel where exposure to new experiences and places can help reduce discrimination and bias.

At Airbnb, we have seen how hosts who open their homes and create amazing experiences can build bridges across cultures and communities. After all, to host is to accept another person into your home, your community and your world.

We are committed to nurturing trust and inclusion within our growing global community. Hosts and guests alike on the Airbnb platform must agree to our Community Commitment, which reads:   

I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.

It is no secret that we are living in divisive times, but even in the face of forces that seek to divide us, our community continues to thrive.

By empowering people-to-people connections across different cultures whether marching as an ally in a Pride parade, or introducing new communities to home sharing, or welcoming a refugee family via our Open Homes platformwe believe that acceptance advances the human condition.