PRIDE : JUNE 2020 : 51st Anniversary

Berkshire Bank
4 min readJun 2, 2020

This month we join our country, communities and the world in the celebration of PRIDE. Throughout the course of the month we will be celebrating the members of our PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) and the safe spaces that we continue to build within our branches and social circles.

We will also be highlighting pieces of PRIDE history that give us the opportunity to educate, learn, reflect, and create a future that allows us to be more open and inclusive in our work.

Supporting the Black Community & PRIDE:

Our Closing Statement to end the month long celebration

What Pride Means to Us:

History of Pride :

Submission provided by members of our PRIDE Employee Resource Group

Honoring Leaders of the Movement

In one of his eloquent speeches, Milk spoke of the American ideal of equality, proclaiming, “Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets. … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out.”

Given the hatred directed at gay people in general and Milk in particular — he received daily death threats — he was aware of the likelihood that he may well be assassinated. He recorded several versions of his will, “to be read in the event of my assassination.” One of his tapes contained the now-famous statement, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

This is one of the first horrible hate crimes I learned about all those years ago when I started the process of coming out and learning who I am. I heard his mother speak at an event at a local college where I grew up, and I remember being so moved, hurt, distraught, devastated, and honestly lucky to be privileged enough to grow up and come out in a place that was at least a little bit more accepting than where he did. I will never forget the way that event made me feel, and I think Matthew deserves a place in our history. He was only 21 when he was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die. He was found days later on the edge of life and died in the hospital due to the wounds he experienced.

  • Gilbert Baker: this link has details to the origins of the pride flag and the creator of it. Baker saw the rainbow as a natural flag from the sky, so he adopted eight colors for the stripes, each color with its own meaning (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit).
  • Marsha P Johnson and Audre Lorde : Two pioneers of the LGBTQ community that also focused on intersectionality

Proud Members of our PRIDE ERG:

The PRIDE employee resource group is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies. The goal of this ERG is to support LGBTQIA+ employees, their families and communities by suggesting programming, reviewing corporate communication efforts, elevating important topics to management and organizing celebratory events. We understand this is a broad definition and encourage specific LGBTQIA+ ERGs to be organized out of this group.

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Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Bank is a socially responsible community-dedicated bank with locations primarily in New England and New York empowering your financial potential.