NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation at the June 18, 2019 open public meeting declaring June 2019 LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
The public seating area of Nutley Town Hall was filled with supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. Those in attendance included local business owners, civic leaders, residents sitting on various community boards, parents, family, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Shortly after the proclamation was read, everyone stood for a rousing standing ovation, many with tears of joy in their eyes.
The proclamation came about as the result of a Nutley resident asking the governing body about recognition for LGBTQ+ community.
During the June 6 meeting, Rhonda Frobose of Nutley spoke during public comments on behalf of her adult child raising awareness that June is LGBTQ Pride Month. She said her child graduated from Nutley High School two years ago. “[They] almost didn’t graduate, because it was very difficult for my child to go to school every day. When you question your own existence because of the chatter that you hear on a daily basis, not necessarily even directed at you, walking through the hallways at school, it’s difficult to get out of bed every day,” she said.
Frobose said she noticed surrounding towns are raising the pride flag at their town halls. “Not only to celebrated pride but to let their citizens know that they have the right to exist. […] This is really important, this is a life and death issue,” she said.
At the time, she asked that the township of Nutley send a message to all of the community that LGBTQ people have a right to exist, that they are welcomed and embraced and that hate is not welcome in Nutley. She said her child and their partner are doing very well now “with a lot of love and support.”
At the June 6 meeting, Mayor Dr. Joseph P Scarpelli told Frobose that he would like to talk and see what they can do to not only acknowledge Pride Month but show that Nutley is an inclusive community. Scarpelli did explain that Nutley does not do flag raisings. A quick survey of municipal property confirmed that the only flag flying on township property is the American flag. That conversation between the mayor and FRobose led to the resolution.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Frobose thanked the commissioners. "Thank you, thank you for listening" she said through glistening eyes. "This means a lot."
Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers, who was present for the Executive Session before the formal meeting was not present for the reading as he had another engagement. Mayor Scarpelli told those gathered that Commissioner Al Petracco was not present because his mother is ill. He asked for a moment of silence for the family.