Kari Kant, through her dear friend Former Lt. Dan Choi (#dontaskdonttell #lgbt), donated "Equality Flag" to the CEO of MasterCard, Ajaypal Singh Banga (note: Dan read Kari's corresponding letter, below, at the conclusion of his speech).
Dan, a West Point graduate, served two years in the Iraq War in Special Ops. He speaks fluent Arabic and served as a lead negotiator and interpreter for the U.S. working with local village leaders.
In 2010 during a live television interview he announced to the world "I am gay" which lead to his eventual discharge from the army for violating the "Don't Ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy.
Dan became a leader and voice for all gay servicemen and women and ultimately brought about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
(Photo: Lt. Dan Choi presenting "Equality Flag" by Kari Kant at Mastercard's diversity conference May 2015)
May 5, 2015
Ajaypal Singh Banga CEO, Mastercard
Dear Mr. Banga,
It is with great honor and respect that I pass on to you today a piece of my work which symbolizes diversity and inclusion. (Equality Flag, Acrylics on Canvas, 36x48”, 2013)
Dan Choi and I couldn’t be more different; he’s from Orange County, California, I’m from the deep South; he went to West Point, I went to a Jesuit college in Mobile, Alabama; his father is a Southern Baptist minister, my father is the mayor of my hometown; he leans left on the political spectrum, I lean right; he came to DC and became an activist, I became an executive assistant for a multinational investment firm as well as an abstract artist.
When Dan told me about your work at Mastercard as it relates to diversity I went online to do my own research. And I appreciated coming across this quote of yours:
If you don’t have a diverse company, and you don’t have people around you who don’t think like you, who don’t walk like you, who don’t talk like you, who didn’t have the same experiences as you, how will you ever make sure that you’re not blinded to the same mistakes because you only see things through one prism?
Dan and I both want to make a positive impact on the global business community. It is leaders such as you that give us the strength and motivation to continue to explore how to do so.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for this important issue.
Kari Kant Art LLC