Finding Pride through Advocacy: Rocketeers create grassroots fundraiser for LGBTQIA+ community

Here’s the story about how this 3-inch rainbow sticker raised over $1,000 for The Trevor Project and sparked a larger conversation for change and awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community at Bottle Rocket.

I’m Rebekah, the Office Experience Assistant, at Bottle Rocket. The biggest portion of my job that I take pride in, is the ability to amplify the voices of others and be the advocate for positive ideas. In my support role, I am proud to advocate for ideas both big and small.

I’ve been happy to help turn fun ideas such as a gumbo cook-off for Mardi Gras, to a candy-gram valentine’s fundraiser for the American Heart Association, to the hopes of a large-scale Mid-century space themed Holiday Party, into a reality!

Little did we know that come March the fun in-person events would no longer be possible. On March 5th,we had our last in-person meeting with our volunteer group, called LIFT, which is a combination of the “party-planning committee” and an activism group. As all of our jobs have adapted to the circumstances, we knew that all events, including Pride, would have to adapt as well.

I am confident I am not alone when I say that this Pride Month has felt unlike any other. With the murder of George Floyd, we watched Americans rise to action, amidst our quarantine, to speak out, march and sign petitions, in passionate effort to fight against racism, systemic injustice and police brutality that we have witnessed in our country for many years.

We did not want the momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement to be hindered, but instead amplified moving into Pride Month 2020. If it were not for trans activists of color such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and countless others who fought during the Stonewall riots and protests, the progress in our country wouldn’t be where it is today.   

John Sarmiento, Madison Luzarraga and Michaela Banks

Meanwhile at Bottle Rocket, a grassroots effort began to take shape. I partnered with a team of three, another LGBTQIA+ ally and Talent Operations Generalist; Madison, a co-worker who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community and Experience Design Researcher; John, and a talented Rocketeer and Visual Designer; Mika, to create this Pride sticker fundraiser campaign!

When it comes to scrappy grassroots efforts, this is the definition. We started by drafting a request for this internal initiative to adapt our beloved BR logo to a rainbow version to be sold as a sticker. We created and posed an internal poll to decide which LGBTQIA+ organization we would collectively like to donate proceeds. We drafted emails on the cost approval to create this magical 3-inch circle to be mailed and proudly displayed.

Thanks to the talented Mika, we had 8+ iterations of the beautiful rainbow BR logo within two hours, with the speed of our leadership we had approval for internal use the following day, and thanks to Sticker Mule we had stickers in tow by the following week.

In the span of 10 days, we received approvals, produced a sticker that our co-workers loved and selected an organization that members of our company were excited to support! The beauty of teamwork!

We were thrilled that we landed on donating all our sticker proceeds to The Trevor Project, which offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQIA+ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text. (More info here:

To date, we’ve sold over 128 stickers within our 180 staffed company. Through the sale of the $3 stickers, Rocketeers offering to match total donations and the efforts of our parent company Ogilvy offering donation matching, by the end of June 2020, we will have $1,000 in donations.

We were thrilled to see Bottle Rocket elect to publicly change our logo to the proud rainbow design, and we are challenging everyone to display more actions that reflect the support of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are proud to see continued efforts with Inclusion and Diversity teams at Bottle Rocket as well to provide a safe and equitable work culture.

Now from my couch at home, I work on my laptop that proudly displays a circular sticker with the two letters, ‘BR’, blanketed by the 6 stripes that create a gorgeous rainbow, and I feel pride. Though it may feel small, the pride is found in the passion it takes to continue to advocate, educate and partner with communities that are often silenced. 

We must continue to advocate for the many members of the community, such as the Black trans deaths of Tony McDade, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton and those who have not yet been counted. Every step towards justice counts.

So, I encourage you, be a trailblazer. The path may seem unclear, but find a team you trust, even if it’s just four, and lift each other up. Happy Pride month, from me, Madison, John, Mika and everyone else at Bottle Rocket. Together we stand.

Published by Rebekah Hedges in Culture, Diversity and Inclusion