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Why this flag has black and brown stripes

June 23, 2021

After Sabrina Paul suggested using a more inclusive version of the Pride flag, it was installed on May 31 at our NAOC in Sudbury, ON. Photo: Sabrina Paul

Anyone who visited our North Atlantic Operation Centre (NAOC) in Sudbury, ON. in June, were greeted by the colours of the Pride flag spanning its entrance. Closer observers, however, might notice that this version features two additional stripes: one brown and one black. 

First created in 2017 in Philadelphia, the “More Colour; More Pride” design was prompted by that city’s efforts to address issues of racism and marginalization within the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and for Sabrina Paul, architectural technologist, its call for more inclusion was absolutely necessary to have on display right here at home.  

She figured out a way to meet colleagues, despite COVID

Hired in February 2021, Sabrina has had an unusual, pandemic-influenced introduction to Vale – just as others who have started with a new company from March 2020 onward. Working mostly from home, when Sabrina does go into NAOC, she’s often the only person in her department, although other colleagues are in the building. “It can get pretty lonely,” she explained, “and it’s been a little weird.” 

So, when she heard about our Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Team, Sabrina jumped at the chance to join, because not only did it afford her the opportunity to connect with more colleagues, it also meant having a hand in bringing our company’s values to life in meaningful, concrete ways. 

Examples include seminars on bullying, pronouns and microaggressions, which have been taking place and have been well attended by a wide variety of employees. (A microaggression is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.) 

Taking an inclusive approach to the rainbow flag

When Sabrina heard about plans to incorporate a Pride flag into the office’s entrance for June, she stepped up and suggested that it incorporate brown and black stripes. “The Pride flag has a 50-year history now,” Sabrina explained, “and as a community, there are more needs we need to highlight, like issues of race and discrimination because historically, it has been an issue within the community itself.” 

The team was completely receptive – and appreciative – of Sabrina’s idea and on May 31, sheets of corrugated polypropylene sheets featuring the colours black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet were installed for the first of what Sabrina hopes will be many times to come. The rainbow will remain on the main doors to NAOC until the end of June, which also marks the end of Pride month. 

“It was wonderful to be heard and to be supported,” she said. The experience further validated her decision to work at Vale, one Sabrina arrived at after determining for herself if Vale was good to its people and the environment. It was critical for her to work at a place that actually does what it says it’s going to do and that lives its values and so far, she’s found the few colleagues she’s been able to meet warm, welcoming and sincerely committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment. “I don’t think we have any progress without analyzing what the intersectionality needs are. You miss so much if you look at issues from just one angle.”


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