LIVINGSTON, NJ — At the request of the Livingston Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (LCDI), the township will once again raise the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag for the month of June, with a flag-raising ceremony to be held on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Oval.
The flag will fly over Livingston for the third consecutive year in commemoration of Pride Month, held nationally in remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan—a tipping point for the gay rights movement, according to the LCDI. A reception will immediately follow the flag raising. The ceremony will be held across the street at town hall in the event of rain.
“We are so pleased to host the Pride Flag Ceremony again this year,” said LCDI chair Susan Berkenbush. “All members of the Livingston community are welcome to attend.”
During Wednesday’s celebration, township officials, clergy and LCDI members will share remarks on the township’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. All members of the LGBTQ+ community, their families, friends, neighbors and allies are invited to this event.
The members of LCDI, whose mission is to “celebrate the cultural heritages and backgrounds of [Livingston] residents,” attended a Livingston Township Council meeting in August of 2015 to address all of the reasons why it is important to acknowledge some of the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community and to show that Livingston supports that community. By acting on residents’ request to take action, the committee was able to get an ordinance adopted stating that the Township of Livingston would fly the Pride Flag at the Livingston Oval in June of that year.
On May 14 of this year, LCDI member Billy Fine and his mother made the same request to the mayor and council, who readily agreed once again. Fine said that the event “serves as a symbol of just how valuable our town’s citizens are.”
Fine and his mother said that since June of 2016, there have been several incidents of hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community nationwide, so the flag “shows our unity to support not only our community, but nationwide.”
“We were one of the first three of four communities in the state to support this cause and we were trailblazers in that manner," said Fine. "Following suit, we had various other towns throughout the Northern New Jersey area who in turn had different ceremonies mirroring ours. This is something that each one of the council members has specifically given support to over the past few years.”
Mayor Ed Meinhardt, who has been the liaison to the LCDI for the last three years, said this event represents not only the committee’s commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusion, but the township’s as well.
According to the LCDI’s mission, its members seek to “raise awareness, foster respect, learn from each other, be inclusive and together create a warm, welcoming hometown experience for all [Livingston] community members,” and this event seeks to achieve that.
For additional information, contact the LCDI at Livingston_Diversity@verizon.net.