From Chicago to Orlando with Love
At Iron Galaxy, our focus on People makes a Pride Parade the perfect expression of our values. Some of the pillars of our culture include celebrating the diversity in our community and giving our employees a chance to bring their whole selves to work each day. To take these virtues from our studios and bring them into the streets where we live and work, we were excited and thrilled to have participated in the Chicago and Orlando Pride Parades in 2022. This was our first official participation as a company in any Pride Parade.
We started in Chicago. A large and diverse crowd turned out for the parade. Chicago's parade was massive! Chicago is such a beautiful city, so even outside the parade, I was in awe of the tall buildings. Summertime in Chicago is indescribable, and to be there during Pride was even more thrilling. A few of us went to a Pride brunch the day before the parade. We wandered in and out of some shops in the North Halsted neighborhood, to get all the pride gear we could find in preparation for the big day.
On the morning of the Parade, traffic was so bad I took the train. That was an unforgettable experience. The local community was making their way to the parade on the same train. It was jam-packed.
Once I found the meet-up spot and we all began to greet each other, I realized that this was the first time I'd met a big chunk of my Human Resources team in person.
Having an opportunity to spend time with my coworkers outside of the office brought me so much joy. Getting to see everyone's personality shine as we danced and marched down the streets of Chicago.
The parade was a fine showing from the city. Businesses of all kinds, churches, non-profits, and government officials were there. Everyone gathered to celebrate love and pride, including allies and members of the LGBTQ community.
We encouraged everyone from Iron Galaxy who wanted to participate to come, including friends and family. We wanted this to be an event that our people got to experience with their people. One of our coworkers brought their teenage neighbor, who had just recently come out to their family, and they stole the show. It was amazing to experience the joy and authenticity they showed while walking with us in the parade. We were dancing, laughing, and having an overall great time. It felt good to see them; bold, authentic, and free.
Our second stop was Orlando, and the timing coincided with National Coming Out Day. The week leading up to the parade, we held a virtual lunch for our LGBTQ ERG to observe National Coming Out Day. For many, coming out can be traumatic, so we wanted to create a safe place for people to celebrate. For some of our people who were unsure about participating in their first Pride Parade, having the chance to come out to their coworkers gave them the confidence to join the local community for the parade.
Our employees turned out to show our solidarity with the LGBTQ+ communities, again as members and allies. An overwhelming number of allies reached out to confirm it was appropriate for them to come and participate in the event. It was really reassuring to see people show up and support. We added a variety of LGBTQ+ flags to our walk which allowed us to celebrate the diversity that exists within the LGBTQ+ community.
I was so delighted that Iron Galaxy had the opportunity to participate in these events. This was the first time we've been in the pride parade and I'm looking forward to running it back next year. As a company, we continue to foster an environment where people can safely be the sincerest version of themselves. As people, we’ll continue to explore new and interesting ways that we make our industry a more welcoming place to anyone who wants to join us.