Pride with a Purpose.
North Jersey Pride, Inc. is a 501(c)3 that produces an inspiring and fun-filled week of LGBTQ Pride events in June for the LGBT community and straight ally individuals, couples and families in the Garden State.
But we are more than a great party. We aim to inspire our larger community to get involved in the struggle for full equality, to help our youth feel safe and loved, to work with us to change hearts and minds in schools, offices, houses of worship. The North Jersey suburbs not only boast disproportionately high numbers of LGBT-headed families, with and without kids, but are also home to a huge population of straight allies who want to help but don’t always know exactly how to go about it.
North Jersey Pride has two primary goals:
This past year, North Jersey Pride proudly supported the efforts of organizations like Garden State Equality, New Jersey United for Marriage, Lambda Legal and ACLU of NJ to bring marriage equality to New Jersey. We were well on our way to a veto override when the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, creating a legal inequality between civil unions and civil marriage. Based on the groundbreaking DOMA victory, Lambda Legal argued for summary judgment—and won.
On October 21st, 2013, the first day same-sex couples were able to legally wed, North Jersey Pride organized a beautiful, communal wedding on the steps of Maplewood Town Hall. Mayor Victor Deluca officiated and hundreds of community members cheered as nine couples took their vows in a joyous ceremony that was later featured on the Channel 12 News, in the Star Ledger and the New Jersey Jewish News. We will continue to celebrate this incredible victory all year long.
Supporting LGBTQ Youth.
Despite this incredible victory, our work is not yet done. Our young people still desperately need our help to feel safe in their homes, in the halls of their schools, in their houses of worship, in their own skin. Although the climate has improved over the past decade, we still have a long way to go, as the statistics show:
- LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted at school.
- Close to half of all LGBT youth of color (44.7%) report being verbally harassed at school.
- Nearly one-third of LGBT students drop out of high school to escape the violence, harassment, and isolation they face there — nearly three times the national average.
- While only 10% of the general youth population is LGBT, they account for 20% of homeless youth.
- Gay youth are four times as likely as their straight peers to attempt suicide.
This past year, North Jersey Pride introduced new events and programming to help ensure that our young people feel safe and secure, including:
• NJP hosted the first-ever anti-bullying program at an elementary school, Jefferson Elementary in Maplewood. The program, which directly addressed the slur “That’s so gay!” also featured two Columbia High School students, one of whom is an out gay senior and the other, who has two moms. The program was so successful that the district’s middle schools have asked us to replicate the program at an age-appropriate level for the studentsthis April.
• NJP organized a clothing/school supply/furniture holiday drive for Hetrick Martin Institute’s Newark after-school program for at-risk LGBTQ teens. The drive collected two full carloads of supplies for the program, including this donated sofa, which the kids love to hang on!
• NJP organized a holiday decorating event at the Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation shelter for LGBTQ young adults. We brought more than 50 volunteers to deck the halls with lights and love for the RAIN residents and had a fantastic time!
• We also hosted a holiday fundraiser for the RAIN Foundation, to raise money for much needed supplies and services to keep the shelter running. A successful evening at Moonshine Supper Club was also a fun social event for attendees!
• NJP held its first-ever, but soon to be annual, hugely successful Black & White Ball for LGBTQ youth, a sellout event. In addition to raising much needed funds for NJP’s family-oriented 2015 programming, we pledged 50% of ticket sale proceeds to HMI: New Jersey’s after school program.
Although North Jersey Pride is a 501(c)3, and therefore not a lobbying organization, we will work to educate our members, both gay and straight, about the importance of pro-youth legislation, such as the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, passed because of the tireless efforts of organizations like Garden State Equality, the Anti-Defamation League of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention.
A Unique Family-Friendly Pride.
Our Pride Festival offers something few other Pride celebrations do: a rockin’ good time for grownups—that’s also
safe for kids. Our attendance has grown 400% year over year since we were founded in 2011 and this year, we anticipate thousands of LGBT and ally families will join us on June 8th, 2014 in Memorial Park. We aim to send them home armed with information that will help them educate their neighbors, family and friends.
Will you help us?
- Find out how to Partner with Pride.
- Take out an ad in the 2013 Official North Jersey Pride Guide.
- Make a tax-deductible contribution today.
- Attend one of our Pride Week events.
- Volunteer on one of our Pride Committees.
- Like our FB page and follow us on Twitter
- Tell your friends and family about North Jersey Pride!