Pride flag flies proudly at Sanford Burnham Prebys 

| Written by Greg Calhoun
Pride flag raising - group photo

The Institute marked Pride month by ceremonially raising the Pride flag and discussing progress toward inclusion in the scientific community 

Sanford Burnham Prebys recognized the beginning of Pride month with a Pride flag-raising event on Friday, June 7, 2024. The gathering included an opportunity for speakers in a variety of roles throughout the Institute to share comments on the meaning of the Pride flag in their lives and careers. 

David Brenner, M.D., president, CEO and Donald Bren Chief Executive Chair at Sanford Burnham Prebys, opened the ceremony, saying, “I’m very proud of everyone for working together to make this a welcoming community.” 

Luca CaputoLuca Caputo, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in the lab of Lorenzo Puri, M.D., discussed the mission of the Queer Science Society, which was founded to create a safe space for postdoctoral fellows and other scholars in San Diego. He added, “I’m happy to be here in this inclusive environment.” 

Patrick Kearney, Ph.D., director of medicinal chemistry in the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, added, “After I joined the Institute last year and saw the Pride flag flying for the first time, I was incredibly moved. It was the first time I’d seen this happen in 40 years as a scientist. While it may seem simple, it is far from trivial, and it tells me that things are different here.” 

Allessandra CecchiniAlessandra (Lale) Cecchini, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in the lab of Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., concluded the formal ceremony, reflecting, “This gesture speaks loudly about who we are and what we stand for in terms of valuing acceptance, unity, respect and kindness. We must recognize that stigmas persist, and we need to face them directly.” 

She added, “While we have come a long way, we still have further to go. I hope this and other diversity-related events on campus encourage you to feel safe and empowered to fully be yourself.” 

The Pride flag-raising event was planned by the Institute’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Council. Lauren Mitchell, M.S., program manager for DEIB, expressed gratitude for the meaningful contributions of the volunteers and speakers, as well as the many participants that attended and showed support for DEIB at the Institute. 

Pride flag raising


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