Commemorating Pride and Remembering Its Roots
When we celebrate Pride this year, we can’t forget its roots. Pride was born from, and still is at its core, a protest.
In 1969 after continuous raids by the police at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village — a space where many that were seen as outsiders in the community could find refuge, the LGBTQ community pushed back against the oppressive legal system that continuously negated their existence, profited off of what was constituted as illicit behavior in the few bars that would serve them, and policed them for dressing outside of what was considered fitting for their assigned gender at birth.
This oppression resulted in the Stonewall Uprising and thus the birth of the Pride movement led by Trans women of color including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera which helped to lead the way for the formation of LGBTQ organizations. June 28th 1970, which became known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day, marked the 1 year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and first Pride March in NYC.
While this month’s marches, protests, gatherings, and collective action honor the critical milestones activists have achieved, Pride is still very much a living, breathing thing. It’s still a response to ongoing injustice levied on both select parts of LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ community as a whole. The fight for equality, equity, and freedom to be oneself hasn’t stopped.
To try and trace Pride’s legacy and its impact, we spoke to a few Alfred employees to discuss what Pride month means to them.
“The march will become a parade when we’re equally under the law. But, it’s a still march because that’s not the case yet. It’s recognizing that to be us outwardly is a risk,” says Allie Riley-Murphy, Senior Tech Recruiter at Alfred. “Pride is a movement. Pride is a protest. Pride is affirmation. Pride is finding your voice and your chosen family. Pride is reflecting. Pride is a time for however you want to Pride. That is what you should be doing. The reason why it’s so many things is because we’re coming to Pride through so many different contexts, through different lived experiences.”
The communities that unite to define Pride are greater than the sum of their parts. They are allies and advocates working alongside one another to demand a step closer to equality.
“Agitate — that’s a word we can’t forget,” says Matt Maurer, highlighting the need to not just call for, but demand equality.
It’s essential to keep the focus on the people that made Pride possible, and the communities celebrating it.
This year, Sharmeen Ferrell, Regional Manager for the South, is thinking of a family member who can finally, at long last after an incredibly trying year, can experience Pride surrounded by fellow LGBTQ members and allies. “He can finally just be himself, be supported by his family, and celebrate with his community,” says Sharmeen.
This type of acceptance, of feeling welcomed, of feeling free to be yourself shouldn’t be novel. It shouldn’t require an event to remind the world that the LGBTQ community deserves equality. But, until the LGBTQ community is treated equally, the protest can, and must, continue.
“Pride is a movement to vocalize, and reinforce the existence of LGBT community in today’s world and how they deserve, but are still working on reaching the equality that other communities have,” says Louis Tan, Senior Product Manager.
The moment when Pride becomes a parade is when the community finally has the space to feel free, he says.
“That’s the true freedom — freedom to be who you are, freedom from any judgement and restraint, and freedom to love.”
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