Celebrating PRIDE All Year Long

Celebrating PRIDE All Year Long

At Miriam’s Kitchen, we celebrate PRIDE all year long. We recently reflected on PRIDE month, and how our partners and guests with lived experience collaborate together during the year to share our core value of belonging.

Last October, George Chipev, attorney at Latham & Watkins, asked Miriam’s Kitchen to join his team for the East Coast LGBTQ retreat. Our Mission Possible Belonging honoree, Tony Burns, was the featured speaker at their Saturday event. We asked Tony and George to share their experience as a Q&A as we celebrate and honor PRIDE month.

Latham & Watkins has been a champion for Miriam’s Kitchen and our guests for over 10 years! We continue to be grateful for their leadership and partnership in our community to end chronic homelessness in DC.

Tony Burns (MK Speaker Bureau and 2019 Mission Possible Belonging honoree) and the LGBTQ Affinity Group at Latham & Watkins spent the day talking about the intersections of homelessness and the LGBTQ community.

Below is our Q&A with Tony and George to share their experience. Thank you to both Tony and George for your leadership.

Tony Burns, Advocate & Peer Mentor, 2019 Belonging Honoree at Mission Possible, Speakers Bureau

Tony, receiving his award and sharing his story at the 2019 Mission Possible Celebration.

Miriam’s Kitchen: We’ve been celebrating PRIDE all month long at MK, and celebrate all year round! One of my favorite parts about the team from Latham & Watkins is that they support inclusive, diverse work environments and have an Employee Resource Group dedicated to LGBTQ community. What was your experience like working with them?

Tony: Having worked at a few law firms at the federal government level and private practice, this experience was refreshing. Lawyers sometimes get a bad reputation. I have always had a certain admiration for them. Their eye for detail. I have had some pleasant memories working with and for law firms. In light of pride this month, it was exhilarating to be at Latham and Watkins.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What was your biggest take-away from this event?

Tony: My biggest take away from the experience at Latham & Watkins was the fact that we have come that far as a society that LGBTQ people could be more of who they really are in their work life. No more shame or fear.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What was your favorite moment of this weekend with the team at Latham & Watkins?

Tony: My favorite moment was just the fact that these attorneys could be out. The look on their faces priceless!

Miriam’s Kitchen: Do you want to share anything else about your experience and anything else about Pride month?

Tony: What if we incorporated a little more pride in our daily lives. Meaning how we treat each other and ourselves.

Read Tony’s Full Story here.

George Chipev, Latham & Watkins

Miriam’s Kitchen: How long have you been at Latham & Watkins?

George: I have been at Latham for over four years, since December 2014

Miriam’s Kitchen: When did you find out about Miriam’s Kitchen?

George: I first heard about Miriam’s Kitchen was from office colleagues, who are strong, committed partners, and host numerous events throughout the year to benefit MK.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What makes Latham & Watkins a great place to work?

George: It may be cliché, but the number one thing is the people — it’s such a pleasant, fun office to be in. Professionally, we have varied and interesting work.

Miriam’s Kitchen: We celebrated Pride all month long at MK, and celebrate all year round! One of my favorite parts about Latham & Watkins is that you all support inclusive, diverse work environments and have an Employee Resource Group dedicated to LGBTQ community. Do you know how this started at Latham & Watkins ?

George: I don’t know the exact details, but the firm strongly supports diversity and has had affinity groups for a while. More formal organization has happened on a global scale the past few years to increase support, participation, and mentoring from attorneys and staff.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What was the event in October with Tony Burns like?

George: The event with Tony was a highlight of our East Coast LGBTQ Group retreat. Living in Northwest nowadays, we don’t necessarily get enough exposure to the history of the city and the people in it. Tony not only gave us insight into DC, but he is a remarkable person with such a compelling story of perseverance and turning what could be negatives into positives and a mission. I was struck in particular by his passion for the program he helped develop at Whitman Walker—an outlet for those who need support dealing with HIV.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What was your biggest take-away from this event?

George: My biggest takeaway, beyond Tony’s story, was Tony’s basic lesson: listen, be kind to each other, and act to help others. It’s simple yet easy to forget when you’re stuck at work or reading the news and ignoring what’s going on outside your window.

Miriam’s Kitchen: What was your favorite moment of this weekend with Tony?

George: My favorite moment was hearing Tony’s story and continuing to get to know him while we prepared the bags of food.

Miriam’s Kitchen: Do you want to share anything else about your experience and anything else about Pride month?

George: I just want to thank MK and Tony for all they do in the community and their continued support for LGBTQ rights throughout the city.