Hoboken officials raised the rainbow flag at City Hall to kickoff their inaugural pride week earlier today, where Mayor Ravi Bhalla was honored by the Hudson Pride Center.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Our understanding of gender and sexuality are ever evolving, and as we evolve, so must our society and so must our policies and laws,” HPC CEO Michael Billy said in a statement.
“In a few short months, Bhalla has set the bar high in New Jersey by protecting the dignity of trans and non-binary individuals with his gender-neutral bathroom ordinance. Beyond that, our community is intersectional, and his advocacy on behalf of immigrants, working parents, and the homeless help lift us all up.”
Bhalla is thus far the only elected official to receive this award, which he graciously accepted.
“I am grateful and humbled to receive this recognition from Hudson Pride Center,” the mayor added.
“As a civil rights activist, I am trying to do my part to make life more equitable for members of traditionally marginalized communities. As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, I look at this honor not as an end prize, but as a sign that we are doing our part here in Hoboken to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
Also at the ceremony, Bhalla announced the selection of Laura Knittel as Hoboken’s new LGBTQ community liaison.
In this volunteer role, Knittel will serve as a resource for the public to raise concerns related to the LGBTQ+ community. Knittel will meet with Bhalla as needed to present solutions to these concerns.
Hoboken Pride Week is part of the first-ever Hudson Pride Month, with events happening across Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne throughout the month of August.
The full calendar of events can be viewed here.
Others in attendance at the event included 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, who is openly gay, Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Council President Ruben Ramos and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.