The City of Hoboken celebrated the LGBTQ+ community over the past few days with events to kick off World Pride Month.
“Hoboken is and always will be a welcoming community where all are welcome, no matter your gender, sexual preference, or any means of identification,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “We’re proud to kick off World Pride Month with our flag raising and first ever Pride crosswalks in front of City Hall. This is a symbol of not just our ongoing commitment to inclusive policies for all, but also to Hoboken’s LGBTQ+ history and all those who have fought so hard for equality before us. We look forward to our second annual Hoboken Pride Week this August!”
Monday’s flag raising follows events hosted by the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s LGBTQ Caucus at Antique Bar & Bakery, where Councilman Michael DeFusco was on hand for the “Drag Queen Story Hour.”
As Chair of @HCDOLGBTQCaucus we were proud to launch Pride Month with a jam packed Drag Queen Story Hour at @AntiqueBarBaker in #hoboken. Amazing to see kids learn about inclusivity, acceptance and the power of being themselves-core values of what Pride Month is all about 🏳️🌈👸🥂 pic.twitter.com/JWTvcGjdLG
— Councilman Mike DeFusco (@mike_defusco) June 1, 2019
Meanwhile, the City painted the crosswalks adjacent to City Hall in with rainbow stripes, in an enhanced effort to celebrate the spirit of inclusion and diversity.
“This year, we celebrate Hoboken Pride, not Prejudice,” said Laura Knittel, the City of Hoboken’s LGBTQ+ community liaison. “One way I ask everyone to join in the celebration this year, is through gratitude. Let’s thank our friends, family and alliances, for all they have given us, and how they continue to love and accept us each and every day. We will continue to make an impact for LGBTQ+ communities here and around the world.”
Long day… hard work… but the results are pretty nice.Thanks to all the @CityofHoboken workers out on Newark & Wash painting our Pride Crosswalks & to Sgt. Rosa, POs Estella & Albert for managing traffic. #PrideMonth2019 pic.twitter.com/NO8mYuBVcx
— Hoboken Police (@HobokenPD) June 1, 2019
Paul Somerville and Allen Kratz, longtime Hoboken residents and the first couple in Hoboken to register as domestic partners in 2004, were participants in Monday’s flag raising. Somerville and Kratz were leaders in the Gay Activists’ Alliance of Hudson County, and Kratz was President of the New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition in the 1980s when the coalition laid the groundwork for extending the protections of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to include sexual orientation. They became civil union partners in 2007, and were married in 2013 shortly after the state legalized same-sex marriage.
“I am excited and honored to be a part of Hoboken’s June Pride Flag Raising. When I grew up, queer community support was not vocalized or expressed,” said Elizabeth Schedl, Hudson Pride Center’s Chief Operations Officer. “While I know we still have a long way to go to create a truly accepting, understanding, and inclusive society, I can appreciate how far we have come. Hoboken’s Pride Flag Raising sends a message to all the people in the Hoboken area and beyond. It says that Hoboken is a safe place, an accepting place, and a place that above all values its community and the diversity within it.”