June has long been recognized as Pride Month, in honor of the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City in June 1969. In the 50+ years since Pride’s inception, the month-long celebration has gathered global momentum toward building community-wide acceptance, justice, and understanding – all while having a whole lot of fun!
The rainbow flag, representing the colorful activities and flavors of Pride Month, also symbolizes a larger aim: the celebration of individuality and authenticity. Beads and glitter dust the streets of cities around the world – with rallies, parades, workshops, and concerts keeping the celebration going – but Pride also seeks to promote and preserve the history and well-being of the LGBTQIAP+ community.
While each city celebrating Pride Month selects its own unique Pride theme, Boston has chosen “The Rainbow After the Storm” for this year’s celebration, acknowledging the global upheaval brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and pointing to better days ahead.
It’s a note that rings true at PTC, with a full month of Pride activities underway, each designed to virtually engage, educate, and inspire our global employee population as the world begins to open back up.
To find out more about how PTC is celebrating Pride Month, I sat down recently with co-executive sponsors of our PRISM employee resource group (ERG), Kelly Rider, Chief Learning Officer, and Eduarda Camacho, EVP, Chief Customer Officer. Let’s take a look:
Kelly: PRISM is our LGBTQIAP+ employee resource group – its mission is to create an inclusive culture of acceptance and understanding of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Eduarda’s and my role as co-executive sponsors is to support the ERG with its overall strategy and provide input and direction on PRISM’s vision and goals. We act as allies and advocates for the group, and we participate in their core meetings to find ways to elevate the important work they do across PTC.
Eduarda: That’s right, Kelly. Pride Month is a time to celebrate freedom of expression and individuality, but it also celebrates the progress the LGBTQIAP+ community has made throughout the years. As co-executive sponsors, our role is to show leadership support of PRISM’s ongoing work to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging for everyone. Recently, PTC was named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign and that’s in large part due to the work PRISM does at PTC every day. I’m extremely proud of the work this passionate group has accomplished and honored to be considered a part of the team
Kelly: It’s amazing to see that kind of recognition for PTC through PRISM’s hard work and dedication. Everyone who is a part of PRISM does this work in addition to their daily jobs, so it’s really an act of selflessness – putting themselves out there, organizing activities throughout the year, and just going above and beyond. They’re the real heroes.
Eduarda: As in previous years, PRISM has organized a fun combination of education and activities so everyone at PTC can get involved in Pride. This year, they’ve partnered with PTC’s Black Employee and Asian Employee ERGs to foster thoughtful dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Cultural storyteller Patrice Palmer will lead a webinar discussion about the intersectionality of race and sexual identity; in another webinar, the Boston History Project will talk through the history of Pride.
Kelly: With COVID-19, things look a little different this year, but PTC culture reflects change and transformation, so PRISM has adapted with the times. A great example of this is the virtual 5K fundraiser to benefit The Trevor Project, the world's largest LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization. During the second week of June, PTC employees can run, bike, or walk a 5K, tracking time and distance using a smart tracking app, and share results across social media in support of Pride.
Eduarda: Beyond the activities happening during Pride Month, PRISM works throughout the year to foster a deep sense of inclusion and connection at PTC. Last October, PRISM partnered with PFLAG on a four-part webinar series that explored gender identities and ways to create a safe and inclusive space at work and at home. More recently, PRISM advocated for updating PTC email signatures with preferred pronouns to show respect for all gender identities.
Kelly: For me, DEI means providing a safe environment for all employees to be themselves authentically. It’s all about creating a sense of belonging at PTC and letting our employees know we respect and value them as individuals.
Eduarda: It’s fostering that sense of belonging, but it’s also encouraging people from different backgrounds to grow and thrive at PTC; we need to have empathy and understanding of cultural differences to support one another. Seventy percent of my team is outside of the U.S. and that diversity of perspectives gives us the ability to come together and leverage our differences in background and experience to find the best solutions to the challenges we face daily.
Pride Month is an annual and historic celebration of individuality and authenticity, and it’s an opportunity to recognize the impact of the LGBTQIAP+ community while raising awareness and education of LGBTQIAP+ rights and challenges. Please join PTC in celebrating Pride!