BLOOMFIELD, NJ - This past weekend, 'Bloomfield Pride' held their second annual community picnic in Brookside Park. The event culminated in the reading of a formal proclamation declaring June 2018 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Co-Chairs of Bloomfield Pride, Mary Valentine and Tobias Wilson, welcomed the gathered crowd beginning with the short, but full history of the organization from that first vigil to remember the 49 people murdered at the Pulse nightclub to the second annual picnic this weekend. Wilson shared details of the partnership with the Bloomfield Public Library including fun events like 'drag story time.' In the near future where will be Gay Happy Hour events at Essex Junction in Bloomfield Center. 

The microphone was then handed over to Councilman Rich Rockwell who read the formal proclamation:

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"WHEREAS, our nation was founded on the principle of equal rights for all people, but the fulfillment of this promise has been long in coming for many Americans. Some of the most inspiring moments in our history have arisen from the various civil rights movements that have brought one group after another from the margins to the mainstream of American society; and 

WHEREAS, in the movement toward equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, a historic turning point occurred on June 28, 1969, in New York City, with the onset of the Stonewall Riots. During these riots, LGBT citizens rose up and resisted police harassment that arose out of discriminatory criminal laws that have since been declared unconstitutional. In the four decades since, civil rights for LGBT people have grown substantially, and LGBT pride celebrations have taken place around the country every June to commemorate the beginning of the Stonewall Riots; and

WHEREAS, in communities throughout the country, barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans have been torn down, but too many continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment.  There are unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities -- especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals -- and we will take steps to address them.  

WHEREAS, all people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are; and

WHEREAS, Bloomfield Pride LGBTQ+ Community of Bloomfield was established to celebrate, educate and advocate on behalf of LGBT residents. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MICHAEL J. VENEZIA, Mayor of the Township of Bloomfield, along with the members of the Township Council, do hereby dedicate and proclaim June 2018 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month and offer this proclamation to the Bloomfield Pride LGBTQ+ Community of Bloomfield and celebrate the great diversity of the residents of Bloomfield and the diversity of our Township Council."  

Valentine and Wilson both encouraged people to visit the Bloomfield Pride Facebook page to fid out more about upcoming events. 

The proclamation recognized the 'the great diversity of the residents of Bloomfield and the diversity of our Township Council.' Attendees of the picnic included young and mature residents, single people, couples, families, and their supporters and friends who are not LGBT. Residents of Bloomfield, Montclair, and Glen Ridge attended the picnic. 

Sponsors of the picnic included Spice Thai, Anthony's Cheesecake, Brookdalle ShopRite, Park United Methodist Church, and financial gifts from Levandoski-Grillo Funeral Home and Clara Maas Medical Center.