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June 24, 2020
Pride is kinda a big deal at Alnylam. Celebration of our unique differences is ingrained in our core values and our every day actions, and we embrace Pride Month as an opportunity to pronounce loud and clear, both externally and internally, our genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion. When we participated in the Boston Pride parade for the first time last year as a company, we pulled out all the stops...and we had employees participating in Pride festivals around the world!
This year, because of COVID-19, we can't be together to celebrate Pride Month in the ways we've become accustomed to but its importance is undiminished. As a result of the recent violence and protests against racial injustice, our community of employees has been even more introspective and engaged in celebrating Pride. In honor of of those who came before us, we asked members of our SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) employee resource network (ERN) how they've been celebrating Pride this year, given the heightened awareness of racial inequality. Here is a selection of their responses:
Devin Poor (genderfluid pronouns-any/all pronouns), Quality Control Analyst II, Quality Control
“Pride this year is unlike any Pride that I’ve ever had the privilege to experience. A movement has finally solidified to help a community of ours who is suffering from a horrible abundance of police brutality and widening racial inequalities, not unlike the original Pride movement. It has taken far too long for this kind of help to reach our Black, indigenous and POC (People of Color) brothers and sisters. I only hope that we can make the best of it by forcing these kinds of atrocities to take a long step back from any sort of public acceptance.”
Jen Tran (any/all pronouns), Training Associate II, Information Technology
“Pride is fevered energy; Pride is community; Pride is love, respect, and celebration. Pride is also history; Pride is overcoming; Pride is remembrance and gratefulness. There’s so much going on, and more than anything I want to do more, give more, BE more. So right now, I’m celebrating Pride by giving to those who need it, those who are fighting for everyone’s rights and safety. I’m celebrating by advocating, by teaching others, by being an ear and a voice where I can be. My place is as a supporter, that’s how I’m giving back and celebrating.”
Saket Agarwal (he/him/his), Principal Associate Scientist, Early Development
“As an immigrant from a developing nation, POC (Person of Color), and a member of the LGBT community, Pride and equality are things that I don't take for granted. I had the privilege and opportunity to move the US over a decade ago, and in this time, I've come to learn so much about why diversity make us stronger. The history of racial inequity and current unrest are a strong reminder of how much further we still need to go. More than ever, I am focused on educating myself further, supporting others, and advocating where I can.”
Kim Altenbach (she/her/hers), Executive Assistant, Research
“Pride 2020 is my first pride celebration in Boston and one I have been looking forward to celebrating my identity alongside people from all sexualities, genders, identities and races. Although there are challenges with coming together in person, it’s a crucial time to celebrate the achievements within the LGBTQ community and give special recognition to the racial inequality many are currently facing. It’s time for change to eliminate racism, discrimination and oppression. Pride = EQUALITY.”
Joe Vogel (he/him/his), Sr. Manager, Program & Alliance Management
“Over the years, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Pride. In High School, I used Pride as an opportunity to revel in my freedom as a newly-out teenager. In time I came to resent Pride – it symbolized the struggle of the LGBTQ community to obtain the same set of human rights that straight people took for granted; I felt that those rights were mine and I shouldn’t have to march or protest to enjoy them. My recent experiences doing D&I work at Alnylam have heightened my awareness of the continued need to celebrate Pride and fight for the rights that all people deserve. Now more than ever, the voice of Pride needs to stand behind black Americans so that we can all enjoy the freedoms on which this country was founded.”
Jeordan Legon (he/him/his), Sr. Director, Digital Center of Excellence
“When I get discouraged, I think of the Martin Luther King quote: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Sometimes it’s infuriating to watch how slow we progress on civil rights, but progress we must like our future depends on it – because it does. I am grateful and proud of the strides we’ve made – particularly the recent Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ+ from workplace discrimination. Still, we have a long way to go until all of us – regardless of skin color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and more are equal. Until then, we’ll keep standing up for justice!”
Al Boyle (he/him/his), Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
“I don’t know if I would call this celebrating, rather I'm trying to practice what I’ve been taught from the movement and, unfortunately, being taught everyday lately. While we are special and unique as individuals, we are all equal members of the human race. Thankfully, we have seen progress over the years but not nearly enough. We still do not treat everyone as equal human beings, and this must change. I ask myself “have I done something, anything, today to make a positive change?” We must push this huge equality boulder up the mountain every single day because if we stop pushing, it will roll back and destroy us. Recent events show the boulder going in the wrong direction so all of us need to push harder and we need more pushers. Celebrating Pride helps us get more pushers!”
Clare Walls (they/them/their), Co-op, Accounting
“Pride means the world to me. The first pride was a riot, and over 50 years of fighting for change, the community has furthered the inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQIA people. I am lucky enough to have grown up in a progressive world where I am able to exist as myself more easily than those who came before me. However, there’s still a lot to be done, and it’s our community’s job to continue the fight to make the world a better place for those who come after us, especially our Black members.”
Sabrina Zhou (she/her/hers), Co-op, Marketing
“With everything that is going on in our world, Pride 2020 for me is all about lifting up the voices of the Black LGBT community. Pride 2020 is reminding myself that Black queer activists were at the forefront of the LGBT movement in the 1960’s. It’s our turn to march with our brothers and sisters in the stand for justice. I am personally working to educate myself on the institutionalized racism in our country, my own implicit biases, and what steps I can take to be an active ally to the Black community.”
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