Mark Miller Subaru wins national ‘Love Promise’ award in part for LGBT support

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Mark Miller Subaru calls itself “Salt Lake City’s LGBTQ-Friendly Subaru Retailer,” says the director of marketing Mike Aguilar. And now they have won a top award from Subaru corporate in part because of their efforts to support our community.

Aguilar was the president of the board of the Utah Pride Center when hired by Mark Miller Subaru. He helped create a campaign, along with Kim Turner, titled “We See You We Love You” with financial help from the dealership. The wristband campaign went global.

“The wristbands were meant to invite a conversation. So we asked people that when they wear the bracelet, to have that conversation — to open up a dialogue with someone who might not understand the struggles of an LGBTQ person,” Aguilar explained.

MMS has also been a major sponsor of the Utah Pride Festival, in fact being one of the longest running locally owned sponsors of the festival. They’ve also donated to the Utah Pride Center itself, the Utah AIDS Foundation, and Volunteers of America in support of LGBT homeless youth.

This year Subaru of America recognized Mark Miller Subaru as its 2018 Love Promise Retailer of the Year, an honor awarded to one dealership each year and is part of its “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru” campaign. Subaru also noted that MMS helped Volunteers of America provide 9,475 overnight stays and 56,940 meals for homeless youth in 2017 alone, as well as helped rescue 125,000 homeless animals from the Navajo Reservation in partnership with Nuzzles & Co.

“We want to make sure that the homeless youth are taken care of,” said Jeff Miller, general manager of MMS. “There’s a lot bigger focus on that in the LGBT population. It’s many, many kids kicked out of their homes. And what they do for these kids is, they save their lives.”

“Nearly 40 percent of homeless youth who live on Utah’s streets are LGBTQ, according to the VOA,” Aguilar said. “Shunned from their families and literally kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality. And statistically, LGBTQ gay youth more likely face sexual assault on their first night of homelessness. Some resort to prostitution in exchange for shelter, warmth, and food. Furthermore, they are engaging in unsafe sexual acts sometimes just for food to survive. And most alarming to me, 58 percent of these kids attempted suicide at least once, and over a quarter of them tried a minimum of three times.”

“So many kids are disowned … from their family, from their communities, from support systems that should have been there for them,” Aguilar said in a Subaru-produced video on the award. “I could have been one of the youth who lived at the VOA — I could have been.”

When Aguilar talked with Jeff and Mark Miller about these numbers, it startled them, Aguilar said. So they selected to partner with the VOA.

“We are helping save homeless LGBTQ kids every day,” Aguilar said. “This is why we do what we do.”

“The Millers believe strongly in Subaru’s “Love Promise” campaign, Aguilar said.

“The Love Promise means being more than a car company. It’s Mark Miller Subaru’s vision to show love and respect to all people at every interaction with Subaru. Our dedication is making the world a better place,” Aguilar explained.

Also, former Utah Pride Festival sponsorship manager Monica Owen said that MMS was a life-changer for Utah’s LGBT community.

“They have sponsored and supported many of our events, helping us to raise awareness for our organization and the unique issues within the LGBTQ community,” she said. “Their commitment ‘to be a positive force in something bigger’ is making a significant impact in our LGBTQ community. Their passion for giving is making a huge difference in ALL communities.”

“Being able to help like that…” owner Mark Miller said in the video as he became overcome with emotion, “… pretty good.”

“You have a responsibility to do good,” said Jeff Miller. “You have a responsibility to take care of the planet and take care of people.”

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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