HAWTHORNE, NJ - The Hawthorne Pride Alliance has arrived.  "June is gay pride month and I'm proud to announce the Hawthorne Pride Alliance, chaired by Mike Stracco," Mayor Goldberg announced at the June 17 virtual session of the Borough Council meeting. 

Mike Stracco, a Hawthorne resident and a Gender Sexuality Awareness (GSA) advisor at a local high school, shared his idea for an LGBT organization with the mayor.  “I had a wonderful conversation with Mayor Goldberg about starting a Pride Alliance here in town.  His understanding, compassion and acceptance continues to show his leadership and concern for the people of this town. I am looking forward to working with him and the Council on this new endeavor. During my conversation with the Mayor, he asked me if I would be willing to chair this new organization.  With humble gratitude, I accepted the new challenge. We will be meeting soon to finalize the mission of the Hawthorne Pride Alliance.”

The mayor said that those who were interested in serving on the Alliance should contact Ellen Brogno, the Mayor's Assistant, by calling 973-427-1168.  "The committee is designed to create discussion for our Hawthorne residents and the community.  We're very excited about that, and Mike was very excited to take hold and take charge."

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The borough has saluted Pride Month by displaying the rainbow flag in the municipal building's window.  Stracco said, "I'm happy that the flag is shown."  The mayor announced at the council meeting that the Pride Alliance would recommend suggestions for displaying the flag in the future.

Borough Attorney Michael Pasquale said, "It's almost hard to believe but until this past week, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that you cannot fire somebody strictly because of their sexual orientation.  Up until this week, you could literally be fired because you were gay and it's mind boggling that it's 2020 and the decision just came down now.  It's more mind boggling that three justices voted against, so we have work to do and I'm glad Michael is taking the helm on that."

Pasquale offered his support for the new Pride Alliance.  "Michael, I'm here to work with you.  It's astounding that it's 2020 and this is where we're at."

Stracco defined 'pride' as "a description of a feeling of happiness that comes from achieving something."  He recognized that fifty-one years ago, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, "an accomplishment overcame the city and the world as the first LGBT Pride Movement took place. That monumental event changed the way people look at the LGBT community and filled the world with pride and now, every June, members of the LGBT community and their allies celebrate the movement with pride."

Declared a New York State Historic Site in 2016, a plaque near the famous bar describes the incident: "The events that began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 marked a monumental change for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans.  Stonewall, which occupied 51-53 Christopher Street, was a gay bar that was raided on June 28, 1969.  Patrons and a crowd outside resisted, and confrontations continued over the next few nights in nearby Christopher Park and on adjacent streets.  This uprising catalyzed the LGBTQ civil rights movement, resulting in increased visibility for the community that continues to resonate in the struggle for equality."

"This committee is going to involve work, so we can all rejoice in Pride in June," said Stracco, who was one of the founders of his school's GSA.  He emphasized that as the world becomes more aware of its diversity, there needs to be more understanding.  "The Hawthorne Pride Alliance will create and promote an environment of equality, understanding, education, community visibility, awareness and harmony of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions." 

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