HOBOKEN - With the topic of Civil Rights dominating the news these days, the City of Hoboken took time to acknowledge Pride Month today, as Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, Councilman Mike DeFusco, and community advocate Laura Knittel participated in a flag-raising ceremony this morning.
"We raised the Pride flag above City Hall today, to demonstrate our continued solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community," said Bhalla, "as well as all those who have been oppressed and deserve to be heard, respected and listened to."
Said DeFusco, "Four years ago this month I stood with Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken and LGBTQ+ activist Laura Knittel and spoke out against the senseless slaughter of 49 young people at an Orlando gay club—one of my first public statements as a newly elected gay Councilman. Since then I’m so proud to have worked with two mayors to raise our LGBTQ+ Municipal Equality Index, a clear message that Hoboken is welcoming and inclusive to all."
Last year, for the second year in a row, the City of Hoboken received a perfect 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (MEI), an annual examination of more than 500 municipalities relating to LGBTQ+ laws and policies. Hoboken is one of only three municipalities in the State of New Jersey to have achieved this distinction.
"It takes more than just words to create a community of inclusion and a culture of acceptance but today, as bigotry again raises it’s head across the country, I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done and continue to do, in Hoboken," said DeFusco.
In 2018, Bhalla signed an executive order requiring all public and private single-occupancy restrooms to be gender neutral. Hoboken became the first City in New Jersey to pass such a law. Bhalla also signed an executive order preventing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups.
DeFusco added, "As MLK once said about morality and inclusion: 'from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice'. Now, more than ever, we must remind our neighbors that love is universal and doesn’t change based on who you love, the color of your skin or what God you believe in (or don’t believe in). So let’s keep creating the Hoboken, and world we want to see, together."
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