Volkswagen with own truck at CSD parade in Berlin…

This year, Volkswagen is taking part in Christopher Street Day (CSD) in Berlin for the first time with its own truck at the CSD parade– and thus taking a clear stance in support of diversity and against discrimination. Volkswagen employees and the Group’s Diversity Management have founded the “We Drive Proud” LGBT* and friends network that not only represents the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, inter* and queer people: it also intends to help shape cultural change in the company.

130 employees will accompany the truck bearing the motto “We Drive Diversity” taking part in the CSD parade. The truck is decorated with a large Volkswagen logo on a rainbow background. They highlight how strongly the Volkswagen Group’s “We live diversity” principle is supported by everyone at Volkswagen. The number of the truck is #33.

“Volkswagen stands for diversity, for open-mindedness and for tolerance. These values are firmly anchored in our corporate culture. That is why Volkswagen is taking a clear stance: we stand for respect, for equal opportunity, for togetherness and for equal treatment of everyone — regard-less of their sexual orientation, ethnic origin, color or gender”, said Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources, Gunnar Kilian. “We are committed to fighting discrimination in any shape or form.” He explained that, inspired by the “We Drive Proud” network, Volkswagen wanted to une-quivocally demonstrate this commitment by taking part in Christopher Street Day.

The “We Drive Proud” LGBT* and friends network founded by employees and Diversity Manage-ment in March 2019 organized participation in CSD. LGBT* and friends is the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans*.

“It is very important that all employees feel respected and valued, and that any reservations are cleared up”, Elke Heitmüller, Head of Diversity Management at Volkswagen, said. “Another key issue is: What does the customer want? Our aim is to sensitize all our employees to the needs of all our customers, irrespective of ethnic origin, color, gender or sexual orientation.” Thore Masek-owitz, one of the organizers of “We Drive Proud”, added: “For the company, it is important that employees can be open about their identity. We can manufacture great products together if we don’t have to waste any more energy on pretending or hiding who we are.”

The network and participation in Christopher Street Day have the active support of Volkswagen Diversity Management and the Board of Management. “For the ‘We Drive Proud’ network it was important for the company to stand up and be counted”, Elke Heitmüller says. “The Board’s commitment and clear support encourage other employees to move cultural change at Volkswagen forward. We want to show we now have a new ‘drive’ and that so much is possible.”

The motto of the 41st Christopher Street Day is “Stonewall 50 – Every riot starts with your voice” – commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York’s Christopher Street. 

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