Public Info

“OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour” Virtual Series Returns for Black History Month

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is excited to announce its free virtual series for the LGBTQ+ community, OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour with host Micayla Mirabella, returns this February 21st at 7:00 p.m. with a powerful topic – African American LGBTQ Arts and Culture: Connecting to Holistic Health, Wellness, and Healing. The virtual, hour-long conversation is part of a monthly series that explores an array of LGBTQ+-specific themes, stories, and experiences to inform, educate, and connect the community.

“The Commissioners and I proudly support the Queer Empowerment Hour Series and its mission to make Union County a more inclusive and accepting environment for our residents through these open discussions,” said Union County Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “I encourage you to attend our free virtual series and join in on the conversation.”

This OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour session begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be live-streamed on the County of Union Facebook page. Questions are taken via Zoom and within the comments section on Facebook. This month’s episode will discuss the influence of the African American LGBTQ+ community on the arts and culture and its deeper connection to the health and well-being of our community. Featured guest panelists include Danielle Earle, Drew Giddings, and Danielle King.

Danielle Earle is a Digital Media and Filmmaking Teacher at Orange High School in Orange, NJ, and has worked professionally in the film industry for the last 14 years. She serves as a board member for the Newark LGBTQ+ Center, a Committee Member of Educators 4 Equality/Garden State Equality, an Essex County Education Association LGBTQ+ Committee Member, and a SOGI (sexual orientations and gender identities) Committee member. Danielle’s exceptional advocacy work for the LGBTQ+ community has earned her recognition and awards. Recently, she was acknowledged as an Equality Champion by the NJEA and NEA.

Drew Giddings has worked with over 100 organizations and causes over the years and has spent the last 20 years leading programs and fostering relationships with the non-profit, philanthropic, and faith-based sectors nationwide.  He is considered a mentor, connector, and justice steward within the community. He currently serves on the Kings Daughters’ Day School Board of Trustees and the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors.

Danielle King has over 10 years of experience in health education, and has built long-term partnerships with donors and established sustainable programs during her tenure. She is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a Rutgers alumna. She currently serves as the Development Manager of the RWJUH Babs Siperstein PROUD Center and has notably raised the number of LGBTQ+ patients visiting the facility from 120 to 1,800 through outreach and networking with outside organizations. She is a Board member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Community Action Cancer Board as well as a member of the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee.

“The vibrant and rich African American culture has had a profound impact on American society and its artistic expression. It is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the enduring and healing influence of the arts on our ancestors, which continues to resonate with us today,” said Union County Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams, Liaison to the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee.  “The arts offer us a source of inspiration, empowerment, comfort, and healing. In this discussion, we will focus on the LGBTQ individuals within the African American Community, and how their courage to break barriers and express themselves artistically despite obstacles continues to inspire and restore us.”

To participate in this informative discussion, please register at: Queer Empowerment Hour is brought to you by the Union County Board of County Commissioners, and in collaboration with the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

For dates, times, or more information on upcoming Queer Empowerment Hour meetings, please contact the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs at 908-527-4897 or visit our website at: