Multiple Bayonne elected officials, LGBTQ activists and community members hoisted the rainbow flag on outside City Hall on Monday.
Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) was the first to speak about the significance of raising the flag.
“Today’s an exciting day. I’ve been working with the Hudson Pride Center for a number of years, and today’s an important day for Bayonne because [it raises] awareness of the new relationship between the Center and the City,” said Chiaravalloti.
He added that it’s important to have advocates such as Hudson Pride Center CEO Michael Billy because such an organization provides exceptional services, such as health care, to a historically discriminated community.
We interviewed Billy on camera to get his reaction.
“It’s huge. For the first time all of Hudson County will be celebrating Pride Month, and this is the first time that in Bayonne we are raising the flag. So this opens the door and sends a message to the LGBTQ community that they are welcome and the city is taking steps to show that appreciation,” Billy said.
He also noted how the HPC will be working collaboratively with the Peninsula City.
“I’ll be happy to be acting as an advisor to Mayor Davis on LGBTQ issues. We’ve agreed that we will be providing training to new Bayonne police officers and doing cultural competency training for city employees. It’s a huge step forward.”
We also interviewed on camera Bayonne Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who told us about the new relationship between the city and the HPC to address LGBTQ issues.
“We have been working with them, but we took formal action last week when the council voted on a resolution to authorize spending money to do sensitivity training with our police officers, teaching them how to interact with this part of our community so that [LGBTQ members] feel protected and safe and don’t have to have concerns about any discrimination or mistreatment when they have interaction with our authorities,” she explained.
The event streamed live on our Facebook Page, which can be viewed below: