Law & Justice

LGBTQ Pride Flag First Raised At Middlesex County Courthouse

f8ef85896a779517875a_DSCN2258.jpg
Community members gather with their elected representatives to celebrate Pride Month. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
e8163d8971861187c533_DSCN2266.jpg
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson (D-12) speaks about the importance of inclusion and community. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
956c821163a969bf74d0_DSCN2270.JPG
Guests and officials get ready for the flag-raising at the Middlesex County Courthouse. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
1c06b37e957d273d0fea_DSCN2277.jpg
The rainbow flag brightens a dreary morning in New Brunswick. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
14cd6c55a74940ff7c4b_DSCN2278.JPG
Green, Spadoro, Watson Coleman, Armwood, Danielson are uplifted by flag-raising. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
7a7f2bb09922bdf5b7f2_DSCN2280.jpg
How Gay Pride Month gets celebrated in New Jersey. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
97553169b337f9866cbb_DSCN2281.jpg
South River candidate Ruell Calvin Brown and LGBTQ Caucus Vice-Chair Rich Green proudly celebrate inclusion. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
f8ef85896a779517875a_DSCN2258.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - As a LGBTQ rainbow flag rose up the flagpole at the Middlesex County Courthouse this week, attendees were reminded of the 49 men and women murdered in the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida last year during a terrifying and bloody mass shooting that targeted members of that community.

According to published reports, Omar Mateen entered the LGBTQ nightclub on June 12, 2016 and opened fire, perpetrating the deadliest mass shooting in American History.

The terrorist, who shot these Americans and wounded 53 others, however, was not remembered during this week's event.

Sign Up for E-News

The fear he hoped to create was replaced, instead, by support and a sense of unity here in central New Jersey and around the nation.

Local officials, including U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, and about three dozen county residents attended the flag-raising event.

"This is the first time we have a (LGBTQ) flag-raising in Middlesex county - one of the most diverse in the country - and we hope to see it continue from now on," Michael Spadoro, Chairperson of the Middlesex Democratic Organization's LGBT Caucus, said. "Events like these bring us one step closer to equality. It's great to know that our representatives 'have our back' here in Middlesex County."

He then provided a brief history of Pride Month, which was celebrated for the 26th time in Asbury Park two weeks ago.

According to the Library of Congress, Pride Month started in 1994 to remember the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that were the "tipping point" of the LGBTQ movement.

It highlights the contributions of this community to our history.

Spadoro was then joined by Ruell Calvin Brown, a Democratic candidate for South River Town Council, in a recitation of the names of those killed in Orlando, to whom the event was dedicated.

U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, spoke to those assembled, describing her visit to the Pulse night club during the presidential campaign season last fall.

She noted that she was "inspired" by the messages of hope, love, and unity expressed by the visitors to the site.  

Watson Coleman then went on to link the shooting with the recent gun assaults at the UPS facility near San Francisco and the attacks on Republican congressmen while they practiced for a charity baseball game on a field in Alexandria, Virginia.

"We have guns in the hands of the wrong people," she said. "The type of guns used in these attacks should not be available. We need common sense gun laws."

She said the attack in Orlando was carried out by a single shooter using a Sig Sauer MCX .223-caliber rifle and a Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol which were purchased legally.  The attack on the congressmen during a baseball practice last week involved a single shooter with an SKS 7.62-millimeter caliber rifle, also purchased legally.

"We are pausing for America," said Watson Coleman, "We should celebrate diversity. We should take these moments to acknowledge the contributions of a diverse community.  We are at our best when we bring our talents together." 

In a reference to some current concerns of the LGBTQ community, Watson Coleman continued, "We must remember that we are a country of laws.  We are working to insure civil rights in public accommodations.  We don't take inclusion lightly.  Government has a distinct role in in protecting us and lifting us up.  We want to lift hope, commitment, and solidarity for all people."

Vice-Chair of the MCDO LGBTQ Caucus Richard Green III took the podium next, adding, "As a life-long resident of Middlesex County and a gay man, today means a lot to me. Yet, it reminds me that the hard work continues."

Green quoted slain gay activist Harvey Milk, the San Francisco Councilman who was assassinated in 1978, saying, "We must show persistence, resistance, and commitment.  Hope will never be silent."

Spadoro then invited everyone - "Let's go out and make some history!" - to exit the building to raise the flag in front of the courthouse.

Freeholders Charles Kenny and Kenneth Armwood raised the rainbow banner, joined by Watson Coleman and State Assemblyman Joseph Danielson,D-17.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Police Blotter

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25, 11:00 AM

East Brunswick Jewish Center, East Brunswick

PurimFest

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government

Sat, March 3

New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, Summit

NJDTE Summer Dance Intensive & Young Dancers ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Nutley Police Department: Video Does Not Contain Direct Threat to Nutley Public Schools

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Police Department report that the video that led to Nutley Public Schools being closed did not post a direct threat to any of the township's schools.

Police report that the person responsible for the video has been cooperating with the Nutley Police Department in their investigation. Interviews are on-going, The department is also investigating all ...

East Brunswick Business Owner Sues to Stop New Hotel Going Up in New Brunswick

February 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -The owners of an East Brunswick hotel are suing to halt the construction of another such establishment a few miles away in New Brunswick.

Shan & Dylan LLC, who own a Comfort Suites just off Route 18, filed suit in an effort to press the New Brunswick Planning Board to rescind its approval of the four-story hotel, which ​was issued in November.

That proposal calls for ...

South Brunswick: Volunteer Soccer Coach Charged With Possessing And Distributing Child Pornography

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A volunteer youth soccer coach and former Sunday school teacher is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, officials said Thursday.

FBI agents and local law enforcement arrested Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, at his Kendall Park home Thursday morning after executing a search warrant, officials said.

Milla-Guerra, a volunteer soccer coach with the ...

Rutgers to Host Exhibit of Sen. Frank Lautenberg Papers

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Rep. Watson Coleman Statement on Indictment of 13 Russian Nationals

February 20, 2018

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller of indictments of Russian businesses and nationals for a criminal conspiracy to interfere with the presidential election in 2016:

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments are the latest ...

Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Feb. 23 benefits SPUR

Come in from the cold and join Special People United to Ride, Inc. (SPUR) at its Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

All proceeds will benefit the SPUR Scholarship Fund. The event will be hosted by On the Deck Restaurant and Bar and will feature live music and a 50/50 raffle. Food will be available for purchase.

Tickets can be obtained for $25 at ...

Author Donates Portion Of Sales To Equestrian Aid Foundation

WELLINGTON, Fla. — Author Shane Ledyard will donate a portion of the paperback sales of his latest book, “Sycamore Whispers,” to the Equestrian Aid Foundation through February.

Equestrian Aid Foundation provides financial assistance to horse people from all corners of the U.S. equestrian world who are facing catastrophic injury or illness.

Purchase “Sycamore ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...