In the midst of the nationwide upsurge of LGBTQ workplace activism during the 1980s and 1990s, a small group of gay and lesbian employees at the Eastman Kodak Corporation in Rochester, New York, came together to establish the Lambda Network at Kodak. Originally conceived as an informal support group, the network expanded its scope in 1994, welcoming all Kodak employees, with a primary focus on fostering LGBTQ inclusion through educational initiatives.
Kodak's management actively promoted the creation of employee networks, responding to external pressures for diversification and as an alternative to labor unions, a stance the company had long maintained. The Lambda Network received significant support from senior management at Kodak, and its dedication to education played a crucial role in shaping Kodak's corporate culture. Within a short span, Kodak implemented domestic partner benefits and championed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) before the U.S. Congress. The Lambda Network emerged as a formidable catalyst for promoting LGBTQ inclusion not only within Kodak but also in broader workplace contexts.
The retrospective exhibition, Remembering the Lambda Network at Kodak, showcases a rich array of materials, including photos, videos, oral history interviews, archival documents, and narrative analyses. These resources delve into the network's history and its interplay with workplace activism. The Lambda Network stands as a compelling example of how employees can effectively utilize their influence to instigate positive transformations in their workplaces and, by extension, in the wider cultural landscape.