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a group photo of ymca of greater rochester staff and volunteers during the 2022 rochester pride parade

The YMCA of Greater Rochester’s Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) has big plans for this year and beyond. Along with the African American and Women’s ERGs, the Pride ERG was relaunched in June 2022. The first year of the new-look Pride ERG has been fruitful but there are many more goals in mind for the group.  
“I'm hoping to see tangible change within the next year,” said Carly Swieringa, Member Experience Manager and co-chair of the Pride ERG. “Our strategic plan outlines steps we will take, in unity with our Association, to intentionally create practices that are not only welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community but designed with this community in mind from the start.”

Loren Montrallo, Learning & Development Manager and Pride ERG co-chair, added the need for more Safe Zone training and certification throughout the Association. The goal is to have all branches and neighborhood centers Safe Zone certified on some level.  
“I think it’s important for the Y to be involved in Pride within our community, just like I think it’s important to be involved with Juneteenth and other initiatives,” said Loren. “Because the Y is for all, it’s for everybody. So, with Pride, it allows people to come together to celebrate; not just the LGBTQ+ community but allies as well.”

While our Greater Rochester community celebrates Pride in July, Pride Month is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community that we strive to emphasize even beyond the month of June. Carly shared that as much as the Pride parade is intended to celebrate, allyship with the LGBTQ+ community has a deeper meaning.

“As people gather during National Pride Month and Rochester's Pride Month, it's easy to be caught up in the fun and excitement that comes, but when I stop and think about where this celebration comes from, I'm humbled,” said Carly. “Pride, to me, is a reminder of why we stand with this community all year, not just when stores are decorated with rainbows.”  

The Pride ERG is once again preparing to take part in the annual Rochester Pride parade. Despite it being the fourth year that the YMCA of Greater Rochester has participated in the parade, this will mark the first time the Association will be represented with its own float. 
The 2023 Rochester Pride Parade will be on July 15, starting at the Alexander Street and Park Avenue intersection, before ending at Cobbs Hill. Make sure to wave and cheer for the Y as you are there celebrating!