UNION COUNTY, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to announce that the rainbow flag will fly for the first time at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. A public Pride Flag Raising Ceremony event is planned for Monday, June 4 at 1:00 P.M. on the steps of the historic Union County Courthouse on Broad Street in Elizabeth.

“Raising the rainbow flag at our County Courthouse is a significant symbol of inclusion and support for the LGBTQ community in Union County,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “It is an honor to invite LGBTQ individuals, allies, elected officials and community leaders from throughout the county and the state to join us for this historic event.”

Demonstrating the Freeholder Board’s commitment to stand with LGBTQ individuals, advocacy groups and supporters to advance equality, the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony is an invitation to everyone—near and far—to join us in celebration, awareness and advocacy.

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The ceremony will feature a performance of “This is Me” (from the Greatest Showman) by students of Elizabeth’s Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy Acapella Chorus, proudly coordinated by counselors of the YES (Youth Enrichment Services) Program.

“Now more than ever, in the face of daunting challenges for the LGBTQ community at the national level, the unity found through Pride events is essential to advancing the equal rights movement,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, liaison to the Freeholder’s LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee.

The “Pride Flag” was popularized as a symbol of the gay community by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 at the request of LGBT-rights activist Harvey Milk, who challenged Baker to create “an insignia of pride capable of affirming social independence.” In the late 1980’s Baker noted the meaning the Pride Flag has come to signify when he said, “The flag is an action – it’s more than just the cloth and the stripes. When a person puts the Rainbow Flag on his car or his house, they’re not just flying a flag. They’re taking action.” Today, the Pride Flag is globally used to further the movement towards equal rights.

In addition to the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony on June 4, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is hosting Union County’s first Light Up The Night TEEN PRIDE (the alternative prom) on Friday, June 15 at UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage in Rahway, as well as the 2nd annual Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic on Saturday, June 16 at Rahway River Park in Rahway. For more information about these events visit ucnj.org/pride.

Union County’s Pride Month events are organized by the Office of LGBTQ Services. Established as part of Chairman Granados’ 2018 Moving Union County Forward initiatives, the Office of LGBTQ Services, under the Division of Outreach and Advocacy in the Department of Human Services, is the first County government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey. It provides a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, serving as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action.

For more information about the Office of LGBTQ Services, contact Danni Newbury, coordinator, at 908-527-4742 or dnewbury@ucnj.org or visit ucnj.org/lgbtq.