Jason Angelo, Associate Chair of Reed Smith's LGBT+ / PRISM business inclusion group, shared the following note to all personnel worldwide on June 11, 2020.

Related Professionals: Jason D. Angelo

Dear colleagues:

As we celebrate PRIDE Month 2020, the LGBT+ community’s resilience in the fight for equality and acceptance for all has never been more significant. The LGBT+ community stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement—and in doing so, honors its own roots as an uprising against bigotry, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. At its core, PRIDE is a celebration of intersectionality, and the movement shares a foundational principle with Black Lives Matter: that all persons are entitled to a life of dignity, safety, and freedom regardless of the color of their skin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. In recognition of this intersectionality, of this moment of time, and of the work that remains to be done in the LGBT+ community to combat racism, we have added black and brown lines to Reed Smith’s PRIDE logo above. The placement of these lines is quite purposeful: the LGBT+ PRIDE Movement rests on the shoulders of the giants of the civil rights movement, and the very beginnings of Pride is anchored in the brave acts of Black and Brown Trans and Queer persons of color.

Last month, the senseless murder of George Floyd once again reminded us of the systemic racism that continues to plague our society. Yet we know that George Floyd’s murder is not an isolated incident: the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade— a Black transgender man who was shot and killed by police in Florida on May 27th—and so many others demonstrates that the long history of oppression of Black and Brown people in America continues to result in discrimination, injustice, police brutality, and murder. And, in particular, the epidemic of violence facing Trans women of color continues unabated in this country: of the 26 reported murders of Trans persons in 2019, 91% were Black Trans women. For these, and many other reasons, the PRIDE and Black Lives Matter movements, necessarily and inextricably, are intertwined.

The LGBT+ community—and especially LGBT+ persons of color—understands what it means to rise up and push back against police brutality and violence, along with a culture that tells us we are less than. Indeed, we celebrate June as PRIDE Month to commemorate the resistance of police harassment and brutality at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in NYC, and across the nation. We remember the Stonewall Riots as a watershed moment in which we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically. The Stonewall Riots largely were led by Trans and gender non-conforming Black and Latinx persons: Marsha ‘Pay It No Mind’ Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie.