Pride Is More Than Just a Month

Throughout June, many people stated that 2020’s celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride was different than in past years. On one hand, COVID-19 kept many of us indoors, and, on the other, many observances were more muted out of respect for the protests and demonstrations around racial injustice. While, yes, there was no parade with colorful floats, parties and celebrations of the recent past, in many ways LGBTQ+ Pride has gone back to its roots.

The 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn, considered one of the turning points in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, reminds us that Pride started with revolutionary riots and protests against police brutality. Every year since, the Stonewall riots have been commemorated on June 27, and more generally throughout the month of June. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, which was a moment of activism rather than celebration. It seems fitting, then, that despite the great strides the LGBTQ+ community has made in the past half century, Pride 2020 was celebrated with a march against police brutality.

This shift in focus back to the movement’s roots has forced the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to re-evaluate and reset their views on Pride and to rethink how best to show up for the community. Without the showy floats and boisterous parades, it becomes much clearer that celebrating Pride, like being an activist and an ally for any marginalized community, is a year-round effort.

Creating this kind of commitment translates seamlessly into the work we do at Ketchum. One of the core tactics we implement with our clients every day is to make sure that the valleys are filled between clients’ tentpole moments, and that we and our clients don’t simply “launch and leave” initiatives to wither on the vine. Leading up to and following the tentpole moments, it’s important to keep up the work even when it’s not a moment of celebration or a topic in the headlines. This is work that we have taken back home: it’s something we at Ketchum are working on doing with our colleagues and with ourselves through continued education and action.

At Ketchum, we developed a holistic approach to this year’s Pride Month—internally with our employees and leadership, and externally through advising our clients. During June, Ketchumites across the U.S. celebrated Pride by learning about its roots. as our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council ran an education series on LGBTQ+ leaders throughout the past 50 years, specifically focused on BIPOC leaders. The Council also expanded its Libations for Love fundraiser—after two successful years run by the New York office, Ketchum went national and raised funds across the U.S for local LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations. As part of Omnicom Group, we also returned as Platinum Sponsors of NYC Pride. Ketchum’s newly appointed President and CEO Mike Doyle moderated two panels during the virtual Human Rights Conference: The State of LGBTQIA Media and Beyond the Supreme Court: Our Queer Future.

And our work continues. Now that June is over, we’re putting plans in place to continue to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year. As Marsha P. Johnson, one of the leaders in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, stated, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”