MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A coalition of community members and organizations are organizing The Equality March: SOMA on Sunday, June 11. According to organizers, this march is taking place in conjunction with The National Equality March for Unity and Pride planned in Washington, DC, and several other local planned marches across the country,

SOMA Action, one of the march organizers, stated in a press release that they "encourage the South Orange, Maplewood and surrounding communities to participate in The Equality March: SOMA and rally to raise awareness and mobilize to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and fight to protect and advance human rights for all."

"Equality March: SOMA stands in solidarity with North Jersey Pride, West Orange Pride and The Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, DC, along with our fellow LGBTQ community members across the state of New Jersey," stated the release from SOMA Action.

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The Equality March begins at 10 a.m. at Ricalton Square in Maplewood, and will proceed down Maplewood Ave., turning left on Baker St., and then marching towards Maplewood Town Hall on Valley St., according to organizers. Everyone who wishes to participate should gather there, and are encouraged to bring supportive LGBTQ signs and materials.

The rally will begin immediately following the conclusion of that march at Maplewood Town Hall, with special guest speakers and an official announcement of a proclamation recognizing pride month and raising of the rainbow pride flag. A moment of silence will be observed in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and the 12 transgender women of color who have been killed in 2017.

Speakers and special guests scheduled to participate include Maplewood Mayor Vic Deluca, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Robert Marchman, Chair of the Community Coalition on Race, Diane Du Brule, ACLU-NJ Interim Executive Director, Cub Scout Joe Maldonado, Minh Nguyen, SOMA Action LGBTQ Committee Chair, Columbia High School Spectrum Club representatives, and Jillian Weiss, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"The goal of the Equality March: SOMA and rally is to mobilize the LGBTQ and allied community to peacefully take action to spread education and awareness," said organizers.

"It's important to take action against oppression and discrimination and be visible locally across our cities and towns for the LGBTQ community," says Minh Nguyen, chair of SOMA Action's LGBTQ committee. "We will celebrate our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex residents. Together we will support each other and make our voices heard.”

For additional information please contact Shannon Cuttle at (202) 744-4653 or at safeschoolsnational@gmail.com.