Last night, more than 350 people and ad agencies across Los Angeles came together for a Pride block party, which included the debut of a film honoring members of the LGBTQ+ community who paved the way for future generations and helped push for change.
The Stonewall Block Party for the Center, hosted at TBWA/Chiat/Day in LA, included participation from Deutsch, 72andSunny, R/GA, Media Arts Lab, MullenLowe and Campbell Ewald. 72andSunny developed the "Thanks for Coming Out" film, which honors the Stonewall survivors.
The block party wasn’t the only event that these LA agencies collaborated on for pride. On June 6, MDC’s 72andSunny held a screening and panel about the documentary "The State of Pride," which was followed three days later by a march in the annual LA Pride Parade in West Hollywood. About 150 people from various agencies hosted a float in the parade with the theme "Thanks for Coming Out."
Last week, Deutch LA hosted Drag Queen Bingo, which raised $1,000 for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
R/GA Senior Resource Manager Jeremiah Bual spearheaded the cross-agency effort to "create an inclusive community and let the work lead the competition between us."
Bual said the LA creative community is smaller than most think, with everyone knowing most of their peers. Everyone in the region - and the U.S. overall - is talking about diversity and inclusion, but he wanted more than just words.
"It’s one thing to say we want to hit a target or a metric to bring more diversity into the workplace, but it’s a whole other strategy to break down our walls, focus on an area that needs a community, and educate to show local queer folks a glimpse of what our industry looks like," he said. "We have a unique opportunity to work together to create change for our industry and we need to have a more open and honest dialogue, most importantly together, as humans first."
He added that he’s suffered through many previous employers’ pride events that were riddled with rainbow flags and had few attendees.
"Biggest eyeroll of life," said Bual. "I took over planning pride for R/GA LA this year and quickly realized the opportunity I had to do something big. My biggest fear was that I’d pull together something meaningful and have poor turn out or interest, so I did what I do best, and put together a plan to bring the people together."
His first call was to Deutsch, which jumped onboard immediately and helped further ignite his passion for the month-long activation.
Jeremy Gozzip, junior designer at Deutsch who was integral in the initaitive, said as a gay person of color and a designer, he felt he could lend his personal knowledge and skills to "create something beautiful and intentional."
"Ultimately, I view my work as a platform that can help people broaden their perspectives of certain issues in hopes that they become future advocates for positive social change," he said. "In our approach to the overall theme of the month, we were hoping to add some nuance to LGBTQ+ identity and harken back to our history as a community and as a movement."