Pride Month rally in Newton promotes solidarity and fellowship


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By Mandy Coliston

NEWTON-Cloudy skies gave way to rainbows on the Newton Green on Saturday, June 23, 2018, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, along with their families and friends, gathered to mark Pride Month. The rally, organized by the Sussex County chapter of the National Organization for Women and sponsored by the Sussex County chapter of Action Together New Jersey, drew dozens of people to the park to listen to speakers, march for their cause, and have an afternoon of solidarity and fellowship.

“We want people to see that Sussex County is the loving, accepting place we know it can be,” Grand Marshal and Sussex County NOW Vice President Zoe Heath said, “The message here is one of love and acceptance for all, especially the LGBTQ+ community which has fought so hard to be where we are today.” Heath said that given the weather, she was happy for the turnout and the support.

Among the afternoon’s speakers was Nikko Chey, a young activist who helped found the Gay/Straight Alliance at Hopatcong High School. “We encountered a lot of resistance during the process,” he said, speaking to the assembled crowd, “We faced a lot of questions like who would show up? Who would join such a club? But we were persistent. The point is, alone you are all fantastic. Together- together, we are brave and strong.”

Local mother and daughter, Jamie and Rebekah Bruesehoff also spoke at the event. The younger Bruesehoff, who is transgender, proudly marched around the square with her friends bearing a handwritten sign that said, “Love is Love.” Her hair dyed a lively purple, Rebekah was easy to spot in the crowd. Jamie said, “We do a lot of advocacy, and I’m so happy to see support like this so near to home.”

The other speakers for the afternoon included Kailey Denzer-Weiler, a candidate for the Hampton Township Committee and a Pride in Action facilitator for Pass It Along; Katie Herz, the historian for the Vernon Township High School Gay/Straight Alliance; Jen Whitlock of True Colors Center for Creative Therapy; and Imogen Myslinski, a teacher and faculty advisor for the Gay/Straight Alliance at the Sussex County Charter School for Technology.

Lindsay Campbell, the President of Sussex County NOW, also said she was pleased with the attendance at rally. “We encountered a bit of resistance, some nasty stuff said on social media. But I’m happy to do my part to make a positive, supportive space in Sussex County. For the most part, people are behind us.” As she paused, a donation of bottled water was brought and offered by staff from Crawdaddy’s Seafood Restaurant. “See?”, Campbell continued, smiling, “This is what I mean. But we’ll be out here until all of Sussex County feels this way.”

Campbell also said that the support for the event had been strong following last week’s unseemly social media comments from Freeholder Carl Lazzaro, who had referred to those in the LBGTQ+ community as living a “wacko lifestyle”. In response to these remarks, Sussex County NOW offered Lazzaro a formal invitation to the event, which he declined.

The Newton Pride Rally was the second-ever Pride event to be organized in Sussex County. There was a small gathering held last year, and the women of Sussex County NOW intend to grow the rally into an annual event to mark Pride month each June. Campbell hopes the rally, and other events like it, will “help make our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and neighbors feel supported, loved, respected, and heard in all the ways they deserve to be but often aren’t here in Sussex County.”

Sussex County NOW is the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, a non-partisan group which advocates for a number of causes, including LGBTQ+ rights, women’s equality, reproductive rights, and working to end violence against women. More information can be found at www.sussexcountynow.org. Action Together New Jersey is a grassroots progressive political initiative with chapters in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties. The Sussex County chapter can be found online at www.sussex.atnj.org.



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Newton Pride Rally 6/23/18

From:

Mandy Coriston

Sent:

Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 9:43 pm

To:

Joe Picard

image.png (393 KB)image.png (384 KB)image.png (1.4 MB)image.png (1.5 MB)image.png (1.3 MB)Newton Pride 2018.docx (19.8 KB)– Download all

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Pics and piece from Saturday's Newton Pride Rally-

Will have Byram Kid's Triathlon, Stanhope Street Festival, and Andover Council meeting all in by deadline.

Thanks,

Mandy

Inline image

(L-R) Sussex County NOW Vice President Zoe Heath, Sussex County NOW President Lindsay Campbell, and Action Together Sussex County Co-Chair Lisa Anderson at the Newton Pride rally held on the Newton Green, Saturday June 23, 2018.

Inline image

(L-R) Katie Herz, Vicky Smith, and Maggie Masullo at the Newton Pride rally held Saturday June 23, 2018 on the Newton Green. The event was hosted by Sussex County NOW and sponsored by Action Together Sussex County.

Inline image

Rainbow flags brightened the cloudy day on the Newton Green on Saturday afternoon, June 23, 2018. Sussex County NOW hosted a Pride rally with sponsorship from Action Together Sussex County, attended by an all-ages crowd of several dozen people.

Inline image

Attendees listen to Nikko Chey, one of several speakers at the Newton Pride rally, held Saturday, June 23, 2018, on the Newton Green. The event to mark Pride Month was hosted by Sussex County NOW and sponsored by Action Together Sussex County.

Inline image

The crowd listens to Katie Herz, one of several speakers at the Newton Pride rally. The event to mark Pride Month was held Saturday, June 23, 2018 on the Newton Green, hosted by Sussex County NOW and sponsored by Action Together Sussex County.



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Newton Pride Rally 6/23/18

From:

Mandy Coriston

Sent:

Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 9:43 pm

To:

Joe Picard

image.png (393 KB)image.png (384 KB)image.png (1.4 MB)image.png (1.5 MB)image.png (1.3 MB)Newton Pride 2018.docx (19.8 KB)– Download all

Images not displayed:Show imagesorAlways show images from this sender

Pics and piece from Saturday's Newton Pride Rally-

Will have Byram Kid's Triathlon, Stanhope Street Festival, and Andover Council meeting all in by deadline.

Thanks,

Mandy

From left, Katie Herz, Vicky Smith, and Maggie Masullo at the Newton Pride rally held Saturday June 23, 2018 on the Newton Green. The event was hosted by Sussex County NOW and sponsored by Action Together Sussex County.

Rainbow flags brightened a cloudy day on the Newton Green as Sussex County NOW hosted a Pride rally with sponsorship from Action Together Sussex County, attended by an all-ages crowd of several dozen people.




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