By Meg Campbell
For the past ten days, tens of thousands of Pittsburghers have celebrated Rise Up: 2017 Pittsburgh Pride. The event culminated with the Pittsburgh Pride Parade on Sun., Jun. 10, when hundreds of individuals and organizations marched through Downtown in celebration and support of the LGBTQ+ community.
— Comcast Western PA (@ComcastWestrnPA) June 11, 2017
It was Comcast’s second year as a parade sponsor, but their commitment to equality goes back more than two decades.
“One of the things that makes this special is that Out@Comcast was one of our earliest employee resource groups, formed in 1986” said Lisa Birmingham, Vice President of External and Government Affairs for Comcast’s Keystone Region.
“We’ve always encouraged our employees to follow their passion and do their own thing, but I think it’s important for the company to step forward and say we’re proud to be a part of this too.”
Nearly 100 Comcast employees and their friends and family registered to march in Sunday’s parade—double last year’s number. And Out@Comcast, the employee resource group that started at corporate, now has chapters throughout the country.
“We’ve had numerous people raising their hand saying ‘Let’s start our own chapter of Out@Comcast at Keystone,’” explained Birmingham.
“It’s really about helping people be their authentic self at work, which is wonderful.”
Jeffery Luchenburg, a supervisor for technical operations at Comcast in Shippensburg, PA, is on the steering committee of the Out@Comcast Keystone employee resource group, which is currently building its leadership, mission statement and launch plan throughout June.
“Everyone I talk to is super, super excited about joining and helping,” shared Luchenburg. “I’ve been at Comcast for 12 years and they’ve always encouraged me to be myself. It’s been fantastic…they encourage everyone to be their authentic self and I believe when people are their authentic self they flourish in their careers”.
In addition to members of the LGBTQ community, the employee resource group welcomes allies.
“We want to draw in straight allies to join our ERG because a lot of it is about creating awareness and support for diversity and helping in a very positive creative or organic way to increase awareness and support,” said Birmingham, who is not only a proud member of the ERG, but also the group’s executive sponsor.
One ally, Chris Topherswisher, a Comcast employee from York, PA, made a four-hour drive to participate in the march.
“Comcast really does take care of us. It’s a good company to work for,” he shared. “I’m out here to support my brother. It’s great to see Comcast out here actively supporting this. It means a lot to me. I just wanted to come out and show my support for him.”
Comcast’s Pride is a year-round one. In addition to their ERGs, during this year’s Comcast Cares Day, volunteers had the opportunity to work with the Delta Foundation to prepare for Pittsburgh Pride.
— Comcast Western PA (@ComcastWestrnPA) June 12, 2017
Comcast’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community extends to their customers, as well. With the X1 platform’s voice remote, customers can simply say “LGBTQ” and more than 800 offerings, including movies, shows and music are available.
Customers may need to wait until July to try that out, though—to celebrate Pride the first thing customers see is “What to Watch: LGBTQ Pride Month.”
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