North Jersey Pride, the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting equality, acceptance, and respect for LGBTQ youth and families in the upper Garden State, hosted the Black & White Ball fundraiser on Saturday, February at The Woodland in Maplewood.
The ball raised more than $10,000 which will support North Jersey Pride’s LGBTQ youth-related events and Hetrick-Martin Institute, New Jersey’s after-school program for at-risk LGBTQ teens in Newark. (If you missed the ball, no worries! You can make a tax-deductible contribution here.)
Just as importantly, said North Jersey Pride Executive Director C.J. Prince, “HMI was introduced to a new crop of potential volunteers and donors.”
The event featured live music, including Tony-nominated across Christiane Noll (Ragtime, Jekyll & Hyde) and the 18-piece Full Count Big Band Orchestra as well as the 2014-15 National High School A Cappella Champions, the “Highlands Voices.” Creative black tie/black & white attire made for sartorial splendor — and some great pictures by William Hollingsworth (click on any photo below to see a slideshow of images from the event).
The Black & White Ball provided “the opportunity to break out of the winter doldrums, get gussied up, and come out to party with our amazing LGBTQ and Ally community,” said Prince. “But more importantly, it allows us the chance to raise money to support LGBTQ youth, our most precious resource. The recent national spotlight on the passing of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen in Ohio who died by suicide, underscores the necessity to help our LGBTQ young people in need. Despite huge advances in marriage equality across the country, LGBTQ teens continue to suffer abuse and rejection by friends, family and community. North Jersey Pride wants every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning teen to feel safe and loved for who they are.”
North Jersey Pride serves LGBTQ youth and family throughout the year. Over the past several months, the organization has hosted movie nights and panel discussions; a clothing and school supply drive for Hetrick-Martin Institute’s New Jersey program; a holiday decorating day of service at RAIN Foundation’s LGBTQ shelter; and a holiday party fundraiser for RAIN. North Jersey Pride also works closely with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which promotes safe, inclusive and respectful social environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for vulnerable youth, LGBTQ youth and their allies.
“While North Jersey Pride is best known for its annual family-friendly Pride Festival on the second Sunday of June and its multitude of Pride Week events and activities leading up to the event, the Black & White Ball is a new endeavor designed to give people a unique way to celebrate LGBTQ community Pride in the middle of winter and help LGBTQ young people in the process,” said Prince.
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 in support of tolerance, respect, and empathy. We 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 other equality issues in the state of New Jersey. Visit us online at: https://www.northjerseypride.org