Pride and Progress: Tackling Prejudice with New, Pride and Unity-themed Debit Cards

A word from David Mickelson, VP Member Service Operations and Card Programs

UW Credit Union's new debit card collection includes a black card with a rainbow outline of the UWCU logo; the Unity card, which features the red and white design created by local artist Mike LRoy; the "Rainbow Blocks" card that features blocks of color; and the Keith Haring card.

“Looking inward, then outward.” While this approach is one our leadership team talked about a lot in the infancy stages of our DEI efforts, it remains a guiding principle behind our recent rollout of four new pride and unity-themed debit cards.

At its core, “looking inward” is a robust listening exercise, a chance to solicit feedback and absorb what is being shared. Thanks to valuable input from members of our Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) employee resource group, we uncovered a need to foster inclusivity in a more tangible way. Gay pride means something deep and historic to the queer community. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, their ask to seek additional ways to make every member feel accepted was the best kind of challenge.

With art often being considered the ultimate form of self-expression, these new debit card designs illustrate UW Credit Union’s commitment to support and promote awareness around LGBT+ communities, while also honoring our differences in a joyful way. One that gives all community members the confidence and peace of mind to pay that forward with purpose. The four designs you see today are a thoughtful mix of abstract nods to the rainbow flag – a symbol of gay pride recognized worldwide – but also two artistic expressions of hope, unity and celebration.

We are excited that one of these designs features iconic Keith Haring artwork. Haring, a prominent artist who passed away from AIDS in 1990, immediately came to mind in the concepting stage due to his vibrant devotion to social messages. After working closely with the Keith Haring Institute, we’re thrilled to feature his “Untitled (Dance)” piece.

Dancing reflects joy, energy and community. Haring’s faceless figures reveal no hint of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. He represented humans as distinct but equal, writing, “It is important to the future existence of the human race that we understand the importance of the individual and the reality that we are all different, all individuals, all changing and all contributing to the ‘whole’ as individuals.”

Similarly, local artist Mike Lroy has been instrumental in elevating the concept of social justice on a local level. His unity mural was constructed on our Madison State Street branch last summer, a testament to his and UW Credit Union’s shared commitment to bringing people together to combat hate with love. That same artwork, which features fists to represent strength and progress, now lives in our wallets, too.

We take pride in progress, but we also use it to propel us forward. Creating real equity is a journey without a finish line. We continue to explore new ways to cultivate a sense of belonging, including enabling the use of preferred names on new plastics.

There is no shortage of reasons of why DEI matters. DEI celebrates our differences. It creates space for productive dialogue. It supports the development of more balanced, equitable communities. I am grateful to be part of UW Credit Union’s DEI story. Being recognized by a growing number of allies, including businesses and organizations, still feels significant in 2021 as it truly “takes a village.” Thanks to innumerable allies in and outside of the organization advocating every day for change, we are that much closer to creating a culture of acceptance. And THAT is something to celebrate.

For anyone looking to join us on that journey, all four designs are currently available here. By late summer, all UW Credit Union-issued debit and credit card designs will be contactless enabled for faster checkout and peace of mind.

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