Leaders of Bridgewater’s LGBTQ+ affinity network, B Proud, wrestled with how to celebrate Pride Month against the backdrop of a critical national conversation about race and racial injustice. Network leaders sent the following email to the company in solidarity and allyship with the Black community. Read the full message from Senior Management Associate and B Proud network leader Andrew Sternlight. (Above, the Pride flag flies at Bridgewater's headquarters.)
June is Pride Month, an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ history, dignity and equality. The recent shocking examples of bigotry and police brutality against the Black community, and the rising national consciousness about these issues, had us question how to appropriately proceed with Pride events. After consulting leaders of the Bridgewater Black Network, we move forward with our scheduled program and share the following context:
In June of 1969, police raided a gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn and its patrons resisted, igniting six days of protests, rioting and violent clashes with law enforcement.
Stonewall was more than a bar; it was a sanctuary for queer people of color who faced systemic, intersectional discrimination and who had been dying in the streets. Transgender women of color like Marsha P. Johnson led the first response and helped mobilize what became the modern LGBT rights movement.
While its mission remains incomplete, this movement has brought significant positive change. Many queer people now can be open about who they are and hold hands with those they love in safety, unafraid. We owe so much of this progress to Black and Brown trailblazers, who counseled action, inspired courage, and remind us of our common roots in struggle.
Despite this, today in America, the Black community continues to face senseless violence and suffer deep injustice. To our Black colleagues: Those of us who are not Black cannot know your experience, but all of us stand with you.
We had originally designed this Pride month to recognize and learn from trailblazers who have led the charge for a better world. Over the last few days, we debated how best to move ahead — the last thing we want is to take focus away from this moment of and for the Black community.
With guidance from leaders of the Bridgewater Black Network, we move forward in the spirit of solidarity. We do so in partnership with employees of color to create an experience that acknowledges and honors this national moment, as emblematic of what we need to take action against and fight for, together.
As Marsha P. Johnson said, “there can be no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”
Andrew and the B Proud Network’s Leadership Council