CREWS (Cockroach Employees Who Support) are groups intended to create an inclusive environment for Roachers (Cockroach Labs employees) from underrepresented backgrounds and help employees connect with their peers on a deeper level. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at one such group: Roacher Pride
Roacher Pride includes both members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies who come together to socialize, discuss issues that affect our community and adjacent communities.
The mission of Roacher Pride is to highlight and embrace Roacher diversity and enable us to celebrate Pride every day, while educating all Roachers on LGBTQIA+ history and how to be the best ally at work and in the larger community.
To execute on its mission, the Roacher Pride group has organized a wide variety of activities.
For example, Roacher Pride recently partnered with the Ali Forney Center, purchased snacks, and hosted an event for Roachers to get together and build and donate 167 snack packs for LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing housing and food insecurity.
Roacher Pride regularly hosts both in-person and virtual social events. Past efforts have included everything from drag bingo to happy hour social gatherings.
Online, the Roacher Pride group facilitates discussion of LGBTQIA+ issues both at the company and in the broader world through a #roacher-pride Slack channel. During Pride month, the group also writes and shares short biographies of key figures in LGBTQIA+ history with all roachers via a company-wide channel. Here’s one example, a recent biography of Ali Forney that we shared in connection with the snack packing event:
Ali Forney, who also sometimes used the name Luscious, was a gender nonconforming peer educator and counselor for homeless and at-risk LGBTQIA youth populations. Ali experienced homelessness themselves starting at age thirteen, and worked a sex worker to support themselves. At age 17 they joined the Safe Horizon Streetwork program, completed their GED, and began working with the center to help other homeless youth, eventually becoming a peer counselor and educator. Ali was particularly well known in the community for their advocacy for safety and education around HIV prevention. They also partnered with social workers to teach them about the specific needs of homeless transgender youth, and how to reach them. Ali also aggressively advocated that the NYPD investigate a series of murders of other homeless queer youth, some of whom Ali had befriended personally. In 1997, Ali was murdered on the streets of Harlem. Ali Forney was 22 years old at the time of their death, and their murder has never been solved.
In 2002, the Ali Forney Center was founded by Carl Siciliano, who had known and worked with Ali. The AFC has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to serving LGBTQIA+ youth in the country. They provide meals, shelter, medical and mental health services, and have grown to serve over 2000 youths a year.
The Roacher Pride group also advocates for the inclusion of LGBTQIA+-related charities in company philanthropic efforts, and partners with other CREWS groups at Cockroach Labs in our effort to uplift other underrepresented groups and embrace intersectionality.
There are a wide variety of ways you can support the LGBTQ+ community. This list of grassroots organizations in every state may be a good place to start looking for ways you can contribute.
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