Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2019

Union County Recognizes 50 Years Since Stonewall Uprising and Vows Commitment to Support Equality and Inclusion

Union County, NJ — Today marks 50 years since the start of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn that sparked the modern gay rights movement.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, recognizing that the milestones achieved in the LGBTQ rights and equality movement today were made possible by trailblazers who first fought back against brutality and oppression and stood up for their rights then.

“The rebellion at the Stonewall Inn is one of the most important events that led to the rise of LGBTQ rights in this country,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “As elected officials, we are responsible for supporting the rights of all people. This Freeholder Board will continue to stand with the LGBTQ community to support inclusion and equality.”

This year’s Union County Pride events honored the early transgender, gay rights and AIDS activist, Marsha P. Johnson, a 1963 graduate of Elizabeth High School and a central figure in the gay liberation movement at Stonewall on the evening of June 28, 1969, highlighting her insistence on the urgency of resistance to advance civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of this significant moment in history, the Freeholder Board commends Union County elected officials and community leaders who hosted Pride flag raising ceremonies or community events to support visibility, dignity and equality for LGBTQ people in society.

“The unity found through Pride events is essential to increasing awareness and advancing civil rights protections for LGBTQ individuals,” said Freeholder Rebecca Williams, liaison to the Freeholder’s LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee. “On behalf of the Freeholder Board, we commend all of our municipal officials and community leaders who stand for inclusion and equality.”

This year, more than half of Union County’s municipalities joined the Freeholder Board to observe June as LGBTQ Pride Month with official Pride Month proclamations, community events or flying the rainbow flag in their community (supported by the Freeholder Board with a ‘Pride In A Box’ kit) including Cranford, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union and Westfield.

In recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride month, the Freeholder Board also offered a series of events to foster inclusion and accelerate acceptance in the Union County community, including the 2nd annual Union County LGBTQ Pride Flag Raising honoring transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson (June7), TEEN PRIDE, an affirming celebration that promotes equality amongst young people (June 14), UC PRIDE in the Park (June 15), Union County SAGE Table intergenerational community lunch (June 23) and PRIDE Night with the Red Bulls (June 28).

Union County’s Pride month events were organized by the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, and presented in partnership with WellCare Health Plans, Xfinity and Atlantic Health System.

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, under the Department of Economic Development, was established by the Freeholder Board in 2018 and is the first and only county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

The Office of LGBTQ Affairs provides a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

For more information about the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, contact Danni Newbury, Coordinator, at 908-527-4742 or dnewbury@ucnj.org or visit ucnj.org/LGBTQ.

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