‘Pride is still about community’
Despite the cancellation of in-person events, Wells Fargo employees are finding virtual ways to celebrate and engage during Pride Month.
For Erika Incardona, a Wells Fargo analytic consultant in Equipment Finance, marching in the 2020 Toronto Pride Festival would have been her chance to display the comfortable confluence of two important things in her life: her community and her career. Having formed the Canada chapter of the company’s PRIDE Team Member Network late last year, she and others in the group made big plans to participate for the first time on behalf of Wells Fargo.
“We were planning for about 200 people, LGBTQ and allies, to march in the parade as a team, with Pride flags, Wells Fargo shirts, and a banner to represent the company,” Incardona said.
Toronto hosts one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world. Incardona has attended Pride Toronto festivals for each of the last 10 years along with an estimated 500,000 – 1.7 million people. This year’s celebration would have been her first opportunity to march.
“The thing most striking about Pride is that it is all about community,” Incardona said. “It is all about inclusivity and involvement, and there is so much diversity; you sense this however you take part in the festival. I definitely thought it would have been great for Wells Fargo to participate and get their name out there with all the big banks in Canada.”
Then, as with so many other events, the celebration was canceled in the wake of the pandemic. Incardona took it in stride, however, and has joined the millions worldwide, and thousands within the company, who participated in an important year for Pride — albeit from a safe social distance.
This year’s celebrations honor the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, which took place one year after the Stonewall uprising, where members of the LGBTQ community resisted police harassment and brutality in New York City streets. For that first march, hundreds gathered in front of Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village and marched uptown. By the time the group reached Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, their numbers reached the thousands.
The 50th annual Pride events would have been remarkable even without the pandemic, in a year leading up to the U.S. presidential election.
June 2020 also presented a notable moment for the LGBTQ community, following the death of George Floyd and the global focus on issues of equity. Equality has always been at the core of the Pride movement, originally sparked by activism surrounding Stonewall, which was largely led by LGBTQ people of color, including Stormé DeLarverie, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera. Organizations such as GLAAD, which have long been supported by Wells Fargo in their community development efforts, publicly reflected on the events, noting the intersectionality of Black Lives Matter and the conversation on LGBTQ rights. Their statements note the overall progress being made toward acceptance and equality.
In the same month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of employment protections for LGBTQ workers, giving the community a reason to celebrate beyond planned events.
Within Wells Fargo, employees traditionally set aside time during Pride Month to celebrate the accomplishments of the LGBTQ community, as well as the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion with each other and their local communities. In this regard, June 2020 was no different and presented multiple opportunities to get involved with virtual Pride celebrations.
Virtual events featured conversations on intersectionality and focused on the communities associated with each letter in the LGBTQ abbreviation. Employees submitted images of miniature Pride parade floats for a celebratory video in a companywide shoebox parade. Additionally, employees were encouraged to dress in their Pride attire and take a selfie to share on the Wells Fargo’s internal social network, Team Moments.
“Pride is still about having a community and being part of a community.” — Erika Incardona
Employees were also invited to submit historic photos to Wells Fargo Corporate Archives to build on the history of the company’s participation in Pride parades and festivals. Wells Fargo’s commitment and service to the LGBTQ community dates back more than 30 years to when the company added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy in 1987. Since 1992, Wells Fargo has sponsored hundreds of Pride parades and events.
“Pride is still about having a community and being part of a community,” Incardona said. “Everyone has been so isolated due to the pandemic, so it’s important that these events carry on and people still feel included.”
Michelle Holmes, a community ally also instrumental in establishing the PRIDE Canada chapter, said her hopes for Pride 2020 are still being fulfilled.
“Our theme this year was really about education and awareness,” Holmes said. “So I think it’s really important that we show that we still have exciting things we can do as part of this chapter. It is super important that we keep the momentum going.”
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