Boston Fed aims for highly visible Pride celebrations, even during a lockdown Boston Fed aims for highly visible Pride celebrations, even during a lockdown

Bank remains dedicated to up-front support for LGBTQ+ community Bank remains dedicated to up-front support for LGBTQ+ community

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June 16, 2020

The Pride flag flies high on the Federal Reserve Plaza , but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Federal Reserve Bank of Boston staff aren’t on site to see it. But despite the obstacle of a partially locked down city, bank leaders say they are resolute about making sure the bank’s Pride is seen this month. 

In years past, the Boston Fed has organized highly visible displays, including flag-draped police cruisers, an 80-person human Pride banner, guest speakers and events, and countless Pride ribbons. This year, the pandemic has forced the bank to re-imagine its approach to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and go mostly virtual. 

In addition to raising the Pride flag on the plaza, the bank updated all its social media logos to include a rainbow banner, while Fed employees also submitted colorful “selfies” to digitally recreate the human Pride banner that usually assembles on the Federal Reserve Plaza. 

“This situation forced us to think differently, but we still knew we had to do something because that’s part of who we are,” said Pam Harris, assistant vice president in the bank’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Bank wanted to leave no doubt about its support for Pride

Visibility is fundamental to the Pride celebration. June is the time for members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their identities, to honor their progress, and to continue to push for universal acceptance. Advocates say following decades of hiding, it is a time to finally be seen. However, due to the pandemic, restrictions on large gatherings, and remote work arrangements, the bank’s Pride celebrations cannot be as visible as usual. 

Still, the Boston Fed wants to leave no doubt about its support of the community, and it’s dedicated to upholding its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Harris said. The fact we cannot all be physically present does not mean we have forgotten about our commitment to supporting the community, she said.

“We’re not letting the impact of COVID-19 stop us,” Harris said. “We’re still very passionate about making sure the LGBTQ+ community is acknowledged and that we support them.” 

This year’s adjustments reflect a commitment at the bank seen in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index survey. The HRC is an organization that advocates for equal opportunity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people, and its index measures criteria including employee benefits, anti-discrimination policies, and public commitment to equality and inclusion. For six straight years, the Boston Fed has scored 100 percent and been listed by HRC as one of the “Best Places to Work” for LGBTQ+ equality.

LGBTQ group leader: celebrating Pride from home can be just as meaningful

Kolton Godfrey is a co-chair of the Boston Fed's LGBTQ+ employee resource group, A1-FACT, and a Boston Fed law enforcement officer. He applauded the bank’s inclusivity and said he always feels heard and valued at work. 

“I’ve been appreciative of how well the Fed treats their employees and recognizes that diverse populations require diverse support systems,” he said.

In addition to helping coordinate the bank’s Pride celebrations every June, Godfrey and other A1-FACT members attend career fairs and events across Massachusetts to share the Fed’s values and ensure diverse candidate groups know about the bank’s employment opportunities. 

“As an active member of law enforcement here at the bank, it is my personal mission to make sure our department is constantly developing their ideas of diversity,” Godfrey said. 

Godfrey added that though he agrees celebrating from home makes it more difficult for the Bank to be visible in its support of Pride, the month is about more than that. 

“Pride is about supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community and celebrating all of our accomplishments,” he said. “I think Pride means something different to everyone, so whether it is done in person or from home doesn’t define how meaningful it is.” 

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