Love is the Message

Portrait of Ashley

Posted by Ashley

• 5 min read

It’s Atlanta Pride week, an annual celebration of our hometown’s LGBTQIA communities that culminates every year in a raucous parade down Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park. This will be the 48th Atlanta Pride, and Mailchimp is excited to be part of the parade for the 5th year running.

Over the years, being in the parade has become an extremely special tradition for many of our employees, LGBTQIA folks and allies alike. And this year we’re especially excited, because local artist Barry Lee designed our Pride concept—complete with human-sized balloons!—with help from our new Pride Employee Resource Group.

Barry Lee sketches

Barry and I started brainstorming ideas for our Pride collaboration early this summer. (We’re big fans of him around here: He created a piece for one of our billboards a few years ago, and his work can be seen here and there on our new website.)

Around that same time, Mailchimp’s Pride ERG was getting off the ground. The group was formed to provide a space for LGBTQIA members to feel represented and empowered to be themselves at work and with allies. When Barry learned about the group, he wanted to get to know them better. So one day he visited Mailchimp HQ and interviewed a dozen LGBTQIA-identifying employees about their lives and experiences.

“As we talked,” Barry says, “themes of community, love, acceptance, openness, and diversity kept coming up.”

It made Barry think of a song, “Love is the Message,” by the band MFSB. “It was one of the first original disco songs to be played in the underground clubs that lay down the groundwork for queer culture to flourish,” he explains.

Swag

And just like that, we had ourselves a theme. Barry worked with our Design team to scheme up signs and balloons for Mailchimp’s parading peeps to carry, as well as some goodies for us to hand out along the parade route (including pronoun pins, which graduates of our Allyship training program know the value of).

“The different-sized hearts represent the different experiences of being queer in the world,” Barry says. “Some are with wings and some without, representing people who can't be out yet or can't fully express themselves—but who are still fully loved, no matter what part of the journey they're on.”

Barry Lee balloons