American Courage Awards: Verizon awarded Bridge Builder Award

We are proud to honor Verizon with the Bridge Builder award at this year’s 22nd annual American Courage Awards celebration on October 4, 2018. The Bridge Builder Award acknowledges an individual or corporation that has developed an innovative approach to successful community engagement and strives to overcome obstacles for the Asian American community as well as other minority communities.

Verizon is a global leader in delivering innovative communications and technology solutions that improve the way their customers live, work, and play. Verizon’s mission is to give humans the ability to do more in this world. They partner with visionaries from just about every industry you can imagine, using technology and data to turn innovative ideas into realities. Verizon understands the dichotomy that exists in Asian American communities — as early adopters of technology on one end of the spectrum and at the other end of the spectrum of those low-income individuals who cannot afford basic phone and cable services.

Verizon has always answered the call in helping low-income families through the Lifeline Program that provides discounted phone service to eligible low-income people in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on tribal lands. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion is ingrained in their company culture.

Where many companies and individuals chase the future but leave others behind, Verizon works to bring everyone with them into the future — a future that is inclusive. Verizon is not afraid to stand on its principle of inclusion and diversity even when it means doing something controversial. Recently, Verizon made the decision to leave a coalition of businesses because of a racist speaker who appeared at an event, citing “Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comments or ideals.”

With the Bridge Builder Award, we recognize Verizon’s strong diversity within its employees — nearly 60% of whom are women and minorities, including a significant portion of Asian Americans. Six women and minorities sit on its 12-member board of directors. That’s half the board. Since 2011, they’ve spent $25 billion with women and people of color suppliers. In fact, Verizon was ranked at #7 in 2016’s “America’s Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business,” a list that honors corporations that provide business opportunities for diversity-owned businesses.

To Verizon, diversity creates stronger, more effective organizations. “Diversity isn’t just a nice thing to have,” writes Craig Silliman, Verizon’s Executive VP of Public Policy and General Counsel. “[I]t is essential for an organization’s success.”

In 2013, Verizon was one of the first corporations to publicly voice their support, through CEO Lowell McAdam, for bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform in a letter to Congressional leaders. Years later, their stance remains the same as they continue to be vocal in support of undocumented immigrant youth, known as Dreamers. In 2017, Verizon also signed onto an amicus brief in support of immigrants in response to Trump’s anti-immigrant executive order #13769. Most recently in January of this year, Verizon signed onto a letter urging Congressional leaders to protect Dreamers facing deportation as Trump acted to rescind DACA.

In addition to their policy and advocacy work, Verizon is keen to support other organizations that share their values of diversity and inclusion. They’ve offered general support for many of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC’s initiatives throughout the years, including our annual Policy Conference, and even recruited and welcomed our President and Executive Director John Yang to the Verizon Consumer Advisory Board.

We’re proud to honor a company committed to furthering diversity and inclusion both in and out of the work place. Verizon continues to serve as a shining example of corporations giving back and helping Advancing Justice| AAJC continue its outreach, education and advocacy.

Join us on October 4, 2018 at the American Courage Awards when we honor Verizon with the Bridge Builder Award.