From North Jersey Pride:
North Jersey Pride, the nonprofit dedicated to promoting equality, acceptance, and respect for LGBTQ youth and families in New Jersey, returns to Memorial Park in Maplewood on Sunday, June 12th with an outstanding lineup of national and local talent, featuring rising star singer/songwriter Parson James (“Stole the Show,” “Temple”); Samantha Marie Ware (Glee, Book of Mormon); and RANGE A Cappella (E! Live from the Red Carpet, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street). Scott Nevins, one of the breakout stars from Bravo’s The People’s Couch will emcee the day.
The afternoon will also feature up-and-coming artists including the all-female blues rock band Jane Lee Hooker, phenomenal cover band Groove Street, 7-piece soulful rock band Sweet Little Bloodhound; the award-winning Paper Mill Show Choir; the much-loved Front & Center Showtime Choir; and much more!
“We are looking forward to our best year yet,” says executive director C.J. Prince, who said organizers expect more than 5,000 attendees at this year’s festival. “North Jersey Pride has become a time when LGBTQ individuals and families come together with their supportive allies to celebrate equality, diversity and community. It’s also a time when we reach out to LGBTQ youth to remind them that we have their backs and they are not alone.”
PNC Bank will be the 2016 Presenting Sponsor, and Atlantic Health will be supporting at the Premier level. “PNC’s support has been enthusiastic and unwavering since the very first year we began accepting sponsors. It’s clear from their support that they not only see the business case for supporting LGBTQ equality, but they believe it’s the right thing to do,” says Prince. “Atlantic Health has been a pioneer in providing specialized medical care to the LGBTQ community, and its commitment to North Jersey Pride really underscores their dedication to reaching out to our members. We are so grateful to all of our sponsors whose generous support makes this month possible.”
2016 Award Recipients
This year’s Outstanding Ally Award will be presented to Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a proactive champion of equality, who has fought tirelessly for legislation to secure the rights of LGBTQ citizens in New Jersey. The 2016 NJP Appreciation Award will recognize the accomplishments of The Pride Network, which focuses on building youth leadership in the LGBTQ community, encouraging the next generation of activists to become active participants in the effort to secure full equality. North Jersey Pride will also give out its second annual Youth Upstander Award and scholarship to Luciana Arbus-Scandiffio, 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. Luci has also been an active member of COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere).
“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, adding that North Jersey Pride is actively seeking volunteers for this season as well as those who would like to become more involved in 2017.
A Full Month of Pride
The Festival will take place in the midst of a month full of events that include the North Jersey Pride Run 5K on June 5th; “Beyond Acceptance: Standing up for Our Kids,” a panel discussion cosponsored by PFLAG North Jersey on June 9th, a screening of “The Mask You Live In,” cosponsored by the Newark LGBTQ Community Center on June 14; “The Kids are Still All Right,” a panel of COLAGE members at the Maplewood Library; “Hike the Fairy Trail,” an event with RADKids for gender-creative children and their families; and “Lessons in LGBTQ Parenting,” with Family Equality Council and Spence Chapin on June 21.
This year, the organization is also introducing a new event, “Fever at 4Sixty6,” on June 16th, which will take the place of the Dance for Equality. “Since we now host the Black and White Ball gala in the winter, we decided to create a high-end dance event with a lower price point that would allow for maximum attendance across the community. This is going to be a night that’s just about fun.” To that end, North Jersey Pride has rented out the swanky Club 4Sixty6 in West Orange, offering two levels, multiple bars, lounges and outdoor cabanas—and the largest disco ball in America! Award-winning DJ Citizen Jane (Miami White Party, NYC Pride, The Dinah) will be in the booth, with DJ Just Love of Newark kicking it off. Prince notes the event is also a fundraiser and those who can are encouraged to take advantage of individual sponsorships and VIP tickets. “This is our only fundraiser during Pride Month, and helps to pay for the Festival, which is free, so we hope the whole community will come out and support!
Full Listing of North Jersey Pride Month Events Below:
North Jersey Pride Run
Sun., June 5th – 9am
Run/walk for equality, respect, and acceptance for all! Pride Month kicks off with our annual 5K, a certified course that takes runners around Grove Park and through the shady streets of Montrose. Families, dogs, and walkers welcome! Proceeds will benefit RADKids, NJP’s new group for gender-creative children and their families. Kids’ Races start at 10am. Celebratory brunch at Above Restaurant at 11am. Grove Park (South Orange Ave. & Grove Rd, South Orange). Register for run and brunch at: runsignup.com/Race/NJ/SouthOrange/NorthJerseyPrideRun
Pride Night Out
Mon., June 6th – 8pm
Join us for cocktails and conversation at our annual Pride party! Pride menu, specialty drinks and cash bar at happy hour prices all night long. Coda Kitchen + Bar, 177 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood; FREE.
Beyond Acceptance: Standing Up for Our Kids
Thurs., June 9th – 7:30pm
Learn more from the experts about how you can be your LGBTQ child’s best advocate—in school, on the playground, and everywhere else. Cosponsored by PFLAG North Jersey. Christ Church, 74 Park Ave., Glen Ridge. RSVP to [email protected] FREE.
North Jersey Pride Festival
Sun., June 12 – 12pm-6pm
“Built for grownups, cool for kids,” the North Jersey Pride Festival is an event that brings together LGBTQ and straight ally attendees from all over the state to celebrate diversity, equality and love. Live main stage, Rainbow Kids Zone with interactive kids’ stage, five-star food court, 90+ vendors, raffles and more. All are welcome! Memorial Park Amphitheater, 123 Dunnell Rd., Maplewood; FREE
Movie Night: “The Mask You Live In”
Tues., June 14th – 7pm
The Newark LGBTQ Community Center and North Jersey Pride present a screening of The Mask You Live In. This award-winning documentary follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Interactive panel discussion follows screening. Rutgers, The Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd, Newark. Tickets: $5 advance/$10 door.
The Kids Are Still All Right
Wed., June 15th – 7pm
Whether you’re an LGBTQ parent curious about what’s in store for your children or a supportive straight parent raising your children to be active allies, these teen and adult children of LGBTQ parents will open your eyes. All teens, tweens and adults welcome at this panel cosponsored by COLAGE and the Maplewood Public Library. 51 Baker St., Maplewood; FREE.
Pride Dance: Fever at 4Sixty6
Thurs., June 16th – 8pm
We’re taking over the hottest venue in New Jersey for an event you won’t forget. Join hundreds of men, women and everyone along the gender/sexuality spectrum with award-winning DJ Citizen Jane (NYC Pride, Miami White Party, The Dinah). Newark’s own DJ Just Love kicks it off for us at 8pm. 466 Prospect Ave., West Orange. Tickets: $25-$50
RADKids: Hike the Fairy Trail
Sat., June 18th – 3pm
Join RADKids, a new social and activities group for gender-creative kids and their families, for a fun hike in the reservation. FREE; must RSVP for location. Email [email protected].
Lessons in LGBTQ Parenting
Tues., June 21 – 6:30pm
Family Equality Council, Metlife, Modern Family Center, and North Jersey Pride present an interactive panel: “Living into the experience of LGBTQ parenting.” The parenting experience for LGBTQ individuals and couples can differ significantly from that of straight parents. Join us as we address the challenges unique to LGBTQ parents and families, exploring issues like inclusivity in schools and ways to begin productive conversations about diversity. Wine & cheese reception at 6:30pm, panel at 7pm. Church of the Holy Innocents, 681 Prospect Ave, West Orange. RSVP to [email protected] FREE
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.