On June 6 and 7, the employee inclusion resource (ERG) group Keck Pride celebrated the start of Pride Month with breakfast events taking place on the Health Sciences Campus and at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. On Sunday, the ERG led a crowd of fellow employees in the L.A. Festival and Pride Parade.

On June 8, USC Arcadia Hospital celebrated Pride Month by holding a tabling event that provided staff with the opportunity to learn about Keck Pride and the many ways to get involved with LGBTQ+ initiatives.

Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall uprising — a three-day protest filled with violent clashes between police who had raided a gay bar named The Stonewall Inn, arresting and assaulting those within, and the bar’s patrons and staff. Today, the event is recognized as the birth of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and Pride Month honors both the movement for LGBTQ+ rights and LGBTQ+ culture in the United States and abroad.

Keck Pride leadership stressed the importance of participating in the recent events and Keck Medicine’s ongoing participation in equitable care and public support for the LGBTQ+ community, especially during Pride Month.

“During a time where the Human Rights Campaign has declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, being surrounded by those who are committed to visibility, action, and safety for the LGBTQ+ community is so nourishing and important,” the email read.

Keck Pride is composed of Keck Medicine of USC and the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s staff, faculty, and students. The ERG has overseen a number of campaigns designed to strengthen local communities and to share Keck Medicine’s diversity and inclusion efforts — including a Gender-Affirming Care program — to people throughout Southern California and beyond.

Launching Pride Month with a treat for staff

At the breakfasts, Shannon Bradley, chief diversity and inclusion officer for Keck Medicine, addressed the attendees. “On behalf of the Keck Medicine of USC leadership team, we stand in solidarity with you, we celebrate the culture of the LGBTQ+ community and encourage visibility and the ability of our colleagues to be themselves,” Bradley said. “We commit to continued allyship and inclusion as we relentlessly pursue equity together.”

Felipe Osorno, chief post-acute care officer for Keck Medicine and the executive sponsor for Keck Pride, also addressed the group.

“This yearly celebration brings our community together to celebrate our successes, embrace our diversity and individuality, increase our visibility and take stock of all the progress that has been made,” Orsono said. “It also recognizes all the work that needs to be done to ensure every lesbian, gay, transgender, non-binary, bisexual and queer individual in this country has access to evidence-based health care, is recognized and protected under the law, and is embraced fully for who they are.”

Marching with Pride

Cultural icon Janelle Monáe beams as she holds a paper fan that reads Keck Pride against a rainbow backdrop.

Singer-actress Janelle Monáe holds a Keck Pride fan as she performs on the ACLU of Southern California Community Grand Marshall float during Sunday’s L.A. Pride Parade. (Photo/Chelsea Guglielmino/WireImage)

Weeks before the events, Keck Pride put out calls for faculty and staff to join their march in the June 11 L.A. Pride Parade, as well as a call for volunteers to cheer for all 130 participating groups as they reached the end of the parade route.

The ERG was answered with an impressive turnout of Keck employees and students from the Keck School, who marched in matching t-shirts behind a massive banner reading “Keck Pride” in colors of the LGBTQ+ community’s various representative stripes.

They also offered Keck Pride items to the parade participants. Even singer, actor and queer icon Janelle Monáe, who served as the Grand Marshall, accepted a Keck Pride paper fan and proudly waved it from her float.

In a follow-up email, Keck Pride Leadership expressed gratitude to everyone who came out to participate.

“The huge group who came out and walked with Keck Pride in the LA Pride Parade on Sunday…WOW,” the email read. “Your Keck Pride co-chairs and co-vice chairs (Lindsey Morrison, Christopher Loertscher, David Nugent, and Alexia Sambrano) are so humbled and grateful for you all.”

Partnering with Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ community

On May 6, 2023, Keck Pride joined the Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) for their monthly Community Clean-Up event. Joined by council member Marco Barcena and community neighborhood watch volunteers, Keck Pride partnered to clean streets and alleys throughout the city of Bell Gardens.

Keck Pride also joined LEA for its fifth annual LGBTQ+ Youth Scholarship Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Mayne Event Center in Bellflower, California. With the help of corporate sponsors and the local community, they’ve awarded over $40,000 to the youth of East and Southeast Los Angeles.

As part of Keck Medicine’s ongoing sponsorship and partnership with LEA, the health system established the Keck Medicine scholarship in 2019 to provide opportunities to LGBTQ+ students who are pursuing careers in health care. This year, the Keck Medicine scholarships were awarded to two students who each received $2,500.

“We stand together in our firm belief that every individual has the right to affirming care and be treated with respect, support and kindness,” said Lindsey Lawrence, co-chair of Keck Pride. “We look forward to many more events and opportunities to celebrate the richness of our LGBTQ+ communities.”

— Matthew Vasiliauskas and Kate Faye