Happy Pride Month! We are incredibly excited to highlight one of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Pride Group! Internal Recruiting Coordinator Nick Barbarossa is one of Pride’s Leaders! We cannot wait to see how Nick continues to grow the ALKU Pride Group! Check out the answers Nick provided below in celebration of Pride Month!
What does Pride mean to you?
To me, Pride means celebrating the overcoming of the trials and tribulations the LGBTQIA+ community faces and the history that brought us to where we are today. It means being able to live our lives authentically through the turmoil our community faces. Currently, LGBTQIA+ rights are being challenged by politicians, and lawmakers are trying to erase our existence. Pride is about coming together as a community and fighting for our freedom.
How are you celebrating Pride Month?
I’m celebrating Pride Month by putting on a company-wide meeting at ALKU surrounding LGBTQIA+ history and the achievements and accolades of the community. I am also taking a trip to my favorite city of, Chicago, IL, to participate in their Pride Month celebrations! Additionally, I am putting my passion into action by volunteering at LGBTQIA+ events and attending local drag shows!
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, do you have a favorite way that individuals demonstrate allyship?
Allies are crucial in the fight to protect LGBTQIA+ people’s rights, and we need them to continue to make effective changes. Allyship is best demonstrated by putting words to action and being present not only in Pride celebrations but at protests and by voting! We can’t fight this fight alone, and allies showing up and being present for our community is the best way we can celebrate.
What positive changes have you seen in the LGBTQIA+ community?
Some positive changes I have seen in the LGBTQIA+ community are the removal of stigmas as it pertains to HIV and AIDS. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, having HIV and AIDS was a death sentence for anyone who carried the virus. This created a huge stigma in our community aimed at people with HIV and AIDS. This stigma overflowed into our community, even with the development of life-saving and preventative drugs that combat HIV and AIDS. This stigma is still present in the world, but less so in the community.
What additional changes do you hope to see in the future?
Additional changes I hope to see in the LGBTQIA+ community in the future is more support for our BIPOC family. As many know, the systemic issues that put BIPOC at a disadvantage in our country are not exclusive to heterosexual-identifying individuals. As a community, we can be doing more to uplift and advocate for our BIPOC family.
How can the ALKrew better support the Pride ERG year-round?
The ALKrew can better support the Pride ERG year-round by getting involved and putting their words into action. Often it’s easier to pledge support verbally, but putting words into action demonstrates not only allyship, but it makes progress in changing systemic issues.
Are there any new initiatives that you hope to implement at ALKU this year?
New initiatives I hope to implement at ALKU this year are the incorporation of Ally Meetings more frequently throughout the year. If we can shine more light on a smaller ERG and have more involvement, we can make an even bigger impact year after year.