Officials and local activists came together to raise the rainbow flag in front of Hudson County Plaza in honor of LGBTQ pride week.
In attendance were Hudson County Freeholder Anthony L. Romano (D-5), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, LGBTQ activists and members of the community.
“I think it is very important that the LGBTQ community is recognized and also commended for all the things that you do for the community. Jersey City and Hudson County is probably one of the most diverse counties in the United States,” Romano said.
Next, Hudson Pride’s Director of Operations Jonathan Lucas took the podium to recognize the accomplishments the community has made within both Jersey City and the nation as a whole.
“It’s quite an honor to be here and represent Hudson Pride on the 16th annual eve of our pride celebration. It is with great pride that I see us all coming together to celebrate our diversity and contributions that we make to the community,” Lucas began.
“Certainly, the events of Orlando are easy to overshadow a lot of the things that are going on, but as I said at the vigil, one of the things we need to focus on is love – love of ourselves and our pride and to make sure that we don’t let acts like this take anything away from us or make us feel less than.”
Jersey City LGBT activist Michael Billy spoke on the importance of being involved within a community to bring awareness and acceptance.
“This is not happening all across the United States, cities, municipalities, towns and counties are not doing this across the United States. We are all here today because it is the right thing to do,” explained Billy.
“What is the right thing? It’s that thing when we wake up and we feel that edge in our heart, that thing that makes us realize let me stand up in solidarity with this community. Let me understand that the LGBT person across the room, to my right, to my left is not so different than I.”
The raising of the flag is in honor and preparation for the 16th annual Jersey City Pride Festival on August 27 between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.