5th Annual North Jersey Pride Festival Returns to Maplewood June 14

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Pride Festival 2014

The following is from North Jersey Pride.

North Jersey Pride, the nonprofit dedicated to promoting equality, acceptance, and respect for LGBTQ youth and families in the upper Garden State, returns to Memorial Park in Maplewood on Sunday, June 14 with an outstanding lineup of local and national talent, featuring singer/songwriter and star of TV One’s R&B Divas Monifah; and finalist and runner-up on NBC’s The Voice and former lead singer for Ella Riot, Michelle Chamuel. Scott Nevins, host of Bravo TV’s The People’s Couch will emcee the day.

The afternoon will also feature up-and-coming artists including fresh new musical talent RANGE, the a cappella group that most recently performed at the 2015 Oscars on E! Live from the Red Carpet; pop/R&B artist and two-time Apollo winner Queen Ella; acoustic folk-pop duo Hannah & Maggie; the award-winning Paper Mill Show Choir; the much-loved Front & Center Showtime Choir performing a medley from the musical Hair; and much more!

“Since we began, North Jersey Pride has been welcomed so warmly by the Township of Maplewood and our progressive North Jersey communities,” says executive director C.J. Prince, who notes attendance at the Festival has grown 400% year-over-year. “We are so excited to continue our tradition of bringing LGBTQ and straight ally attendees together in support of equality, acceptance and respect, particularly for LGBTQ youth, who so desperately need us to stand up for them.”

In keeping with its “Pride with a Purpose” mission, North Jersey Pride will also present several awards at this year’s Festival. The Outstanding Ally Award will be presented by 2014 recipients, Jane and Joe Clementi of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, to Hudson Taylor, CEO and founder of Athlete Ally, an organization activating athletes to support LGBT inclusion and equality. North Jersey Pride will also give out its first Youth Upstander Award and scholarship to Russell Pinzino, a senior at Columbia High School who has volunteered with North Jersey Pride and been a featured speaker/panelist at NJP’s Stand UP Speak OUT school assemblies. “By recognizing those who have made a difference in our community, we hope to inspire many more to get active on behalf of LGBTQ youth and families in New Jersey,” said Prince.

The Festival will follow a full week of events from June 7-14 that include the North Jersey Pride Run 5K on June 7; an interfaith panel and discussion on June 8; a panel of children of LGBTQ parents on June 10; a screening of “Blackbird” on June 11; a Teen Dance, cosponsored with Bergen PFLAG; the annual Dance for Equality on June 13; plus several more events culminate in the day-long Pride Festival, on Sunday, June 14 at the Memorial Park Amphitheater in Maplewood. “We are very excited about our diverse Pride Week lineup this year. The events offer a point of entry for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to join the discussion about respect and equality,” Prince said.

For more information on Pride Week events and the Pride Festival, visit the North Jersey Pride website.


Sunday, 6/7: North Jersey Pride Run

9 AM, Grove Park, Grove Road & South Orange Ave., South Orange, N.J.

Runners and walkers of all ages will take to the starting to line to move forward together in support of equality, respect and acceptance for all. This year, the race will kick off the week of events, with a certified 5K course winding around Grove Park and through the shady streets of beautiful Montrose in South Orange, N.J. Proceeds of the race will directly benefit North Jersey Pride’s programming for LGBTQ youth. Sponsored by Atlantic Health Systems and PNC Bank

Monday, 6/8: Progress in the Pulpit: A Conversation about Acceptance in Faith-Based Communities

6:30PM, Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave., South Orange, N.J.

A multi-denominational, interfaith panel including leaders in Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Indian, and Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities. Moderated by WNYC’s Arun Venugopal, the panel will look at how shifts in attitudes and legislation have impacted religious doctrine and debate; how faith leaders can welcome LGBTQ congregants, while still giving space to more conservative members to “evolve” more slowly; and, as far as we have come, how far we still need to go. Beth El will provide childcare to ages 5 and up.

Tuesday, 6/9: Family Disco Night at the Roller Rink 5:30 PM, Florham Park Roller Rink, 192 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park, N.J,

North Jersey Pride invites the young and young-at-heart to slip on their skates and take a spin back in time to the ’70s roller-rink craze, as we celebrate LGBTQ Pride on wheels.

Wednesday, 6/10: Are the Kids Really Alright?

7 PM, Ethical Culture Society, 516 Prospect Street, Maplewood, N.J.

Cosponsored by COLAGE, this panel of teen and young adult children of LGBTQ parents share their experiences and unique perspectives on growing up in a same-sex family and offer advice for parents in our community.

Thursday, 6/11: Award-winning film “Blackbird” and Director Q&A

8 PM, Bow-Tie Clairidge Cinema, 486 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, N.J.

North Jersey Pride is proud to present a special screening of “Blackbird,” a winner of multiple awards including Best Ensemble Cast, Best Director & Best Actor at Atlanta’s Out On Film and the Diversity Award at the Barcelona LGTIB Film Festival. Starring Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington, “Blackbird” paints a vivid picture of the struggle, shame and awkwardness that comes with growing up black and gay in rural Mississippi. Q&A with Polk following the film.

Friday, 6/12: Teen Dance for LGBTQ youth

7- 10 PM, Cresskill Congregational Church UCC, 85 Union Avenue, Cresskill, N.J.

A dance/social for LGBTQ and ally youth ages 15-19, with DJ Kevyn, pizza and refreshments. North Jersey Pride will sponsor a bus to bring Essex, Union and Morris County teens up to Cresskill. Cosponsored with the Rainbow Café of Bergen PFLAG.

Friday, 6/12: The Well-Strung Quartet Live at SOPAC

South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, N.J.

Called “the hottest things with a bow since Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games,” Well-Strung features four classically trained musicians putting their own unique spin on pop hits by Rihanna, Adele, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and more. Private cocktail party with the band will follow the concert in the SOPAC Loft. Sponsored by Nancy and David Fine Jewels of Millburn, with 100% of proceeds benefiting North Jersey Pride.

Saturday, 6/13: 2015 Dance for Equality

8 PM to 1 AM, The Club at Orange Lawn, 305 North Ridgewood Rd., South Orange, N.J.

The annual Dance for Equality is North Jersey Pride’s premier fundraising event. Guests will eat, drink and dance all night long to the beat of DJ Mike, who will spin the proverbial platters until 1AM. Attendees can also bid on items at our silent auction, including Broadway show tickets, spa treatments vacations, jewelry, designer fashion, artwork, unique experiences.

Sunday, 6/14: North Jersey Pride Festival

12 PM, Memorial Park Amphitheater, 123 Dunnell Road Maplewood, N.J.

“Built for Grownups, Safe for Kids,” the North Jersey Pride Festival is a family-friendly event that brings together LGBTQ and Straight Ally individuals, couples and families from all over the state to celebrate diversity, equality and love. The Festival features a live stage with superb national and local talent; a huge Rainbow Kids Zone with inflatables, face painting, arts & crafts, along with a brand new Interactive Kids Stage with the Lizard Guys, story time, relay races, gymnastics, martial arts demos, and more; 100+ exhibitors and merchant/artist vendors; and our famous Five-Star Food Court featuring the best of our local New Jersey eateries. Admission is free and all are welcome!

About North Jersey Pride: North Jersey Pride is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that produces events and activities to promote inclusivity, equality, awareness, and understanding in the upper Garden State. NJP produces the North Jersey Pride Festival on the second Sunday in June, as well as a week of activities leading up to the Festival. Our activities bring LGBTQ individuals and straight allies together to learn about one another and celebrate our unique identities. We further aim to empower young people to become pro-active citizens; businesses to become active community partners; and families of all make-ups to become allies for one another. Our unique Pride Festival offers safe, family-friendly entertainment and fun for all. Throughout the year, North Jersey Pride works in partnership with LGBTQ leaders in their campaigns for more stringent anti-bullying laws and for full marriage equality in the state of New Jersey.

Visit us on social media:


Facebook.com/North Jersey Pride








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