Celebrating Pride Month with SDG&E’s Project Planner and GrlSwirl Volunteer, Tianah Hathaway

Celebrating Pride Month with SDG&E’s Project Planner and GrlSwirl Volunteer, Tianah Hathaway

Editor’s Note: Pride is celebrated around the world every June. This month reflects the years that the LGBTQ+ community fought for civil rights and celebrates the powerful progress of the community today. Together, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month and every day as we carry out our value of Championing People. To celebrate and promote allyship, we will be featuring employees who identify as LGBTQ+ so we can continue to listen, learn, and support the outside community from within. 

As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, we are proud to highlight Tianah Hathaway, SDG&E’s Project Planner, for her volunteerism with GrlSwirl — a women-founded skate collective empowering young people through skateboarding.  

Building and Finding Community 

Tianah grew up in Ocean Beach and has always been a San Diego girl at heart. Skateboarding has had a major impact on her life and has been a huge influence in shaping her personality. As a queer, Black woman attending Villanova University – a private, Catholic university in Pennsylvania – Tianah wanted to highlight the culture of San Diego and her passion for skateboarding. As the only woman in a very small, almost nonexistent community of skaters during her time at Villanova, she became inspired to help bring more inclusivity to the skateboarding world.   

“After graduating and moving back home, when I first heard about GrlSwirl, I was inspired by their mission and so badly wanted to attend a meetup to experience the culture and environment for myself. I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone and show up alone; I let my insecurities get the best of me. When I saw they were opening applications for two new Chapter Leaders in San Diego, something made me jump at the chance and I was honored to be selected to join the team,” said Tianah.  

GrlSwirl is all about building community. The organization holds community events to encourage people to come together to skate, hang out, make friends and be themselves. “In addition to our mission of empowering people and building community though skateboarding, we have a strong core of philanthropic work. We’ve raised over $25,000 for local non-profits, taught more than 300 young children to skate through our mentorship programs and continue to use our voices to better the communities we live in. Our goal is to create a special space for communities to blossom, in the name of skateboarding,” said Tianah. 

Champion People 

Tianah has worked for SDG&E for four years and has been volunteering with GrlSwirl for more than a year now. Her efforts to “champion people,” one of SDG&E’s core values, by uniting and empowering them through the power of skating as a member of GrlSwirl is truly inspiring. She says, “I believe through GrlSwirl we are bringing inclusivity to people around the world, to conquer their fears and unite as a revolutionary community of marginalized skaters. It means a lot to me to think we might encourage even just one more kid out there to skate. I want more girls, women, queer, and non-binary people to know there are others just like them. Others who were once just as terrified to step on that board, or bomb that hill, or drop into that bowl for the first time. The reward is seeing people encouraging and supporting each other to take risks and take up space, and to know they are just as worthy of that space as anyone else. We can do anything we set our minds to, and it's so much better when we can do it together!” 

GrlSwirl History 

GrlSwirl was founded in Venice, California in February of 2018 by a small group of women. “We are an inclusive skate community consisting of women, queer and non-binary individuals, created to empower others through skateboarding and provide a safe space and community for those who may not otherwise feel comfortable going to a skatepark, or getting out into the world to participate in a male-dominated sport,” said Tianah “It has since grown into a global force of hundreds of thousands of people with chapters in NYC and San Diego, with more to come. Our chapter in San Diego, as well as NYC, is in the process of changing our name and dropping the gender to become ‘Swirl’ and be more inclusive to marginalized skaters of all gender identities (i.e., trans and non-binary people).” 

Thank you, Tianah, for everything that you do for both SDG&E and the LGBTQ+ community!