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How resilience allowed us to Bloom Together for Pride 2022

From green carnations as self‑identifications to lavender to commemorate the Stonewall riots, flowers have long held profound meaning in LGBTQ+ communities.

The Atlanta Pride Festival is back after a 2-year hiatus, and we’re so excited to be walking in the parade for the 7th year. (Check out what we did in 2018 and 2019!) Mailchimp is one of the festival’s biggest sponsors, and the parade is our largest employee event. This year, we partnered with Roza Nozari (pictured below), a Toronto-based artist and therapist, to design our 2022 parade concept, “Bloom Together.”

A self-identifed queer, Muslim, cis woman of color, Roza uses her art to help tell the stories of those who are often not represented when talking about mental health and wellness. In August, she met with members of our Pride BERG to learn about what queerness, community, and representation means to them, and what message they want portrayed in the parade. Some of the themes discussed were diversity, interconnectivity, and collective resilience in the queer community.

Because this year’s Pride Parade was a momentous return to in-person celebrations, resiliency felt like the perfect theme. We landed on flowers as the primary visual component because of the significance they’ve played in queer history—from using green carnations as self-identifiers, to lavender to commemorate the Stonewall riots. Through our 6 main flower illustrations, we’re celebrating a range of queer experiences. The scenes in these flowers show community, love, normalcy, family, and friendship. Personally, my favorite flower is the orange one, which celebrates our queer elders and how they've paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights, making it possible to celebrate Pride in the first place.

Roza explains, “These flowers were intentionally selected because of their resilience. Bundled together like a garden, they represent our interconnectivity. They represent our communities’ capacity to survive, thrive, and bloom—in all weathers, in all conditions.”

With help from our Design team, we took Roza’s art and imagined how we would bring it to life in the parade. In addition to passing out stickers, koozies, and enamel pins to parade-goers, our walkers—made up of over 200 employees, friends, and family members—held flower signs of these different scenes and assembled to become our own “float.”

Seeing our peeps coming together as a group to celebrate and uplift each other really brought “Bloom Together” to life in a tangible way. And Roza’s work drove the point home that, while each of the flowers are important and symbolic individually, they—and we—can merge to create something even greater. “They uplift the wisdom of collective care,” Roza says of the flowers and people on display during the parade. “That idea that we can nourish and support each other’s growth. And they tenderly recognize that we not only deserve to bloom, but that together, we can thrive.”

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