Let's Not Waste this Moment
I am not sure about you, but every time I turn on the news or scroll through a news feed, all I see is tragedy and injustice. School shootings. American cities being bombed with the targets being affluent African-Americans. Hate crimes against transgender people increasing over the last year. Gun rights activists sending children death threats for speaking their truths. An unarmed, young Black man killed by the police in his grandparent's backyard. All horrific. All want to make you want to put your head in the sand and hope the horror passes.
I, however, see hope. I see a new generation of activists, taking to the streets and demanding to be heard. I see the hope in the hundreds of thousands of young people who marched this past weekend for gun control reform. I see hope in the Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento in the name of the fallen Stephon Clark. I mostly see it in the youth of The Pride Network who are working to make their communities a better place. The events of the last year and a half have galvanized a generation to fight for the disenfranchised. So, let's not waste this moment. More than ever, the youth of The Pride Network need our support and guidance so that they can go out into the world and give it some much needed healing.
One way you can support is by participating in our Upside Down Triangle Project. For a $50 donation, you will receive a triangle pin and a hand written thank you card from myself. All proceeds will go directly to our youth social justice programming. The triangle is symbol of LGBTQ resilience. The Nazis made homosexuals wear pink triangles to categorize them with a scarlet letter of sorts. Decades later, the LGBTQ community reclaimed the triangle and made it a symbol of pride and a call to action.
Help The Pride Network keep the momentum of these young people going. You can support our Upside Down Triangle project by going Here.
We will be seeing you on the front lines of change!
Next NNJ Speak Summit Anounced
Just Announced: The Pride Network's next Speak Summit will be held at Rutgers Newark. A free, day-long social justice conference for youth where young people will be able to meet other LGBTQ Students from the tri-state, participate in amazing, innovative workshops, and meet gnarly professionals who are also changing the world. This a FREE event. Breakfast and lunch will be served. You can RSVP here:http://www.thepridenetwork.org/spring_2018_speak_summit. The theme for this Speak Summit is simply "The Power of Youth."
Brooklyn Donor Cultivation Event
Just announced: The Pride Network will be hosting a Donor Cultivation event in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. We are hoping to create stronger community support in NYC. If you are interested in empowering and uplifting LGBTQ youth, please join us. You can rsvp here:http://www.thepridenetwork.org/house_party_for_a_purpose.
The Pride Network thanks Sean Jackson for so generously allowing the use of his home for the event.
Pride Network honors six New Jersey leaders this Saturday in Asbury Park
The Pride Network has announced they will be recognizing six community leaders in New Jersey this coming Saturday for their hard work and contributions to the LGBT community. Congressman Frank Pallone and New Jersey Legislators will join the organization in recognizing the six community activists.
Take a look at the list below:
1. Sue Fulton: A 1980 West Point graduate active in the fight for gay rights in the military has been named chairwoman of the board that reviews programs at the U.S. Military Academy. Brenda Sue Fulton was named chairwoman of the Board of Visitors on Monday at a meeting of the advisory board. Fulton was part of the first West Point class to admit women. She was commissioned in the U.S. Army, served as a platoon leader and company commander in Germany, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. She was a founder of Knights Out, a founding board member of OutServe, and she currently heads SPARTA, an LGBT military organization. Fulton and Penelope Gnesin were the first same-sex couple to exchange vows at West Point’s landmark Cadet Chapel in 2012. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Fulton to the West Point Board of Visitors, which made her the first openly gay person to serve there. The board advises the President on matters relating to West Point, and is comprised of nine members of Congress and six presidential appointees.
Click here to purchase tickets supporting Sue Fulton: http://www.thepridenetwork.org/njawards16
2. Rev. Janyce Jackson Jones: A pinnacle of service and advocacy in and for the state of NJ, especially within the LGBTQ Community of color. She is a tireless activist, who has served as the Executive Director of the Newark LGBTQ Community Center for more than 3 years after working passionately within Newark to help found the center, while simultaneously serving as Co-Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church NewArk, a work she co-founded after the merging of two New Jersey affirming ministries within the Unity Fellowship Church Movement in 2012. Whether opening the doors of the center during the week for people seeking refuge, access to better services or simply a place to be themselves, or opening the doors of the church at services on Sunday for those who are searching for deeper connections, Rev. Jackson Jones is a staunch leader in the State of New Jersey, who worked with Garden State Equality for years as Co-Chair of their African-American Caucus to work for full marriage equality. She spoke before several sessions of the legislature as well as rallies and hearings. She’s served as a Vice Chair and Chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Commission for Newark and was awarded 2006 Newark Pride Award and the 2011 Star of Essex County Award by the County Executive. As she prepares to retire after more than 2 decades of service to the City and to the community, we cannot underscore her greatness and her service. She has changed the lives and the landscape of the residents of Newark and New Jersey, and the state and its cities and citizens are forever changed because of her actions, her activism, her advocacy and her aspirations for LGBTQ communities statewide. She is looking forward to retirement this year, and spending more time with her wife, Valerie A. Jones.
Click here to purchase tickets supporting Janyce Jackson Jones: http://www.thepridenetwork.org/njawards16
3. Sal Susino & Dion Daly-Susino: Together since 1983, Sal Susino and Dion Daly-Susino are community activists, event producers, mentors, and out & proud leather men on the Jersey Shore. In 1984, they co-hosted the first AIDS Benefit in Asbury Park at the Odyssey which began a long history of HIV work in NJ, including the co-founding the NJ Chapter of the NAMES Project in 1989. As Producers of the Mr/Ms NJ Leather Contest (now in it’s seventeenth year), and Co-Producers of Asbury Park Bear Weekend, they, along with their titleholders have proven that leather can not only exist, but thrive in the suburbs. As Daddies of the NJ Leather Family, they have coordinated volunteer efforts, educational activities, produced monthly leather socials, bar nights and dozens of benefits raising thousands of dollars for local and national charities. They are especially proud of the role they have played in mentoring a number of outstanding leather men and women. While encouraging the inclusion of the leather/bear community into the greater LGBTQ mosaic, the couple never turns down an opportunity to honor the elders by passing along our oral history.
Click here to purchase tickets supporting Sal and Dion: http://www.thepridenetwork.org/njawards16
4. Wendy J. Berger: "Berger’s involvement with the gay community began through her association with the United Auto Workers in the 1980s. She served on the women’s committee for the Equal Rights Amendment and on the subcommittee for Lesbian Rights. Berger became involved in the National Organization for Women and served as State Lesbian Rights Task Force Chair for New Jersey. After Governor Whitman’s election, Berger served on the transition team for the Division of Community Affairs. In 1993, Berger also began the Family Project that became the body of research and writing encompassing Domestic Partnership Rights, which is now in the form of a bill. Berger was president of NJLGC last year and is currently its Director of Public Policy."
Click here to purchase tickets supporting Wendy J. Berger: http://www.thepridenetwork.org/njawards16
5. Tom Gallagher: Tom Gallagher grew up in the servant’s quarters in Deal where he and his family worked for the family that founded MGM and Random House. He graduated from Holy Spirit grammer school here in Asbury Park and Red Bank Catholic High School. He began his professional career at age 11 as a caddy at the Hollywood Golf Club where the first Mrs. Ronald Reagan gave him the nickname of “Buttercup” which he hated. A few days after graduating from Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) Tom was sworn in as one of the first Peace Corps volunteers. Shortly thereafter he was welcomed to Ethiopia by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. A month after chatting with the Emperor, while teaching a seventh grade history class, Tom heard the first shot of the longest war of the 20th century – the Eritrean War for Independence – the first of the 14 wars in which Tom has been involved. One his return from Ethiopia Tom’s first full salaried job was at the White House Commission on the War on Poverty. In April 1965 Tom entered the U.S. Foreign Service and was assigned to Saudi Arabia where he effected the evacuation of the American community during the June War in 1967. He was later assigned to Nigeria and Ecuador where he served as Acting U.S. Consul General. In that latter position he was, at age 34, the youngest chief of a diplomatic mission in US history. On assignment in Washington Tom became the co-organizer of the largest track meet in North America in 1972, the Pan-Africa/US Track Meet which was the only sporting event in history in which a single team represented a continent. In 1975 Tom became the first civil servant in the world to voluntarily and publicly come out of the closet. This act cost him his diplomatic career. He moved to California where he earned a masters degree in social work at the University of Southern California. He taught at the UCLA School of Medicine and ran the psychiatric emergency service in Napa where his clinic was judged to be “the best in the State” by the California Department of Mental Health. Tom ran an AIDS clinic in San Francisco during the 1980s. When his clinic was given an award for the quality of its service by the President of the American Foundation for AIDS Research she told her honorees that they were “the elite and nobility of your generation”. In 1994 when the prohibition against gay employees at the State Department was lifted by President Clinton, Tom returned to the career he loved. His first assignment was to Madrid where, as noted in a speech by Colin Powell, he raised $3 million for the Spanish AIDS Foundation. On assignment to Washington, Tom served as Country Director for the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo managing the day-to-day response of the U. S. government to the two biggest wars since 1945. In those jobs Tom was able to put an end to two wars. He negotiated an end to hostilities between the two largest tribes in South Sudan. That war broke out again eighteen years later with 100,000 dead and a million refugees so far. Tom also led the State Department’s successful destruction of Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army which killed 200,000 human beings and enslaved 75,000 children. Secretary of State Albright presented Tom with a Certificate of Appreciation for his work following the bombing of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. Tom represented the United States of America at a conference of 15 nations in the Hague that raised over one billion dollars to aid 1.5 million people who were starving to death in Sudan. He later worked in the Office of International Health where he was part of the most effective anti-AIDS program ever. Sadly it was destroyed by the Bush administration. Tom also worked for three years as Consul at the American Embassy in Brussels where his proudest act was the refusal of two visas in September, 2001 to the son of a conservative imam who wanted to return to the flight school in Opa Laka FL to continue his studies in mosquito spraying. At the time, the CIA announced its concern about a possible al-Qu’ida plot to spray an American city with poison. That event did not happen. In 2012 Tom’s colleagues in the organization of retired US diplomats presented him with their annual Tragen Award for work he did on the womens movement when, despite tremendous opposition, he forced the assignment of the first female officer to work in the office of the Secretary of State, and assigned several women to diplomatic posts where females were previously considered to be too fragile to serve. In 2014 Monmouth University, where Tom is an Adjunct Professor, named Tom as their Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. In that same year Secretary of State Clinton spent four minutes in the middle of a major policy address praising Tom’s courage in coming out 40 years earlier. She noted that Tom’s action had permanently changed the State Department. Tom recently received a public apology from the Assistant Secretary of State for Security for throwing him out in ’75. As a volunteer Tom was a co-founder of the Gay Switchboard of Washington, DC. For two years he served as Director of the Counseling Program at the Gay Community Services Center of Los Angeles, the largest gay counseling program in the world at the time. He was a member of the Boards of San Francisco’s AIDS Health Project and the Gay Community Services Center of California’s East Bay in Berkeley, and he worked as a volunteer therapist at Operation Concern, San Francisco’s gay counseling program. Tom is now busy singing and dancing his way through old age with the New York City Gay Mens Chorus with whom he has sung on Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and at the largest theater in Ireland. He lives in Tinton Falls and Manhattan with his beloved partner, Amin Dulkumoni.
Click here to purchase tickets Tom Gallager: http://www.thepridenetwork.org/njawards16
The event will be held at the Watermark in Asbury Park this Saturday at 4pm.
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NYC SPEAK Summit Announced!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 12th 2015 - NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The Pride Network announces partnership with The Manny Cantor Center in Manhattan. The community center will serve as the host site for the first NYC SPEAK Summit for High School and College students. Community partners include Grand Street Settlement, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network, and other local organizations.
A SPEAK Summit is a day-long program where students come to learn leadership skills and practical solutions to facilitate change in their schools. The day is filled with presentations, workshops, panel discussions, and programs facilitated by experienced educators, student leaders, community activists, and motivational speakers. SPEAK Summits aim to teach students the importance of meaningful involvement and leadership in the LGBTQ community.
The date for the summit has been set for November 15th and registration opens Wednesday, October 14th on www.ThePrideNetwork.org
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact [email protected]
LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS ISSUE OPEN LETTER: FROM FERGUSON TO TRUE FREEDOM
WASHINGTON, DC, December 9, 2014 —The National LGBTQ Task Force, in coalition with The Pride Network and other national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations, today issued the following open letter:
An Open Letter: From Ferguson to True Freedom
Words cannot begin to describe the depth of feeling we all share about the unfolding tragedies in Ferguson and New York City. Words cannot relieve the suffering of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s loved ones nor can words alone salve the pain nor quell the anger of millions. It’s action we need and we need it now.Read more
World AIDS Day
“On this World AIDS Day, I call on world leaders to unite in our common cause. We have started to turn the tide. We have set a bold target. Let us end AIDS together by 2030.”
-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Each year, hundreds of transgender people are murdered and commit suicide. According to the National Transgender Center for Equality, 47% of transgender people have attempted suicide at some point in their life. Since 0.3% of the world’s population is transgender, this statistic is astounding. Motivations for a transgender person to commit suicide include being refused basic medical treatment, being harassed at work, getting evicted or kicked out of their homes, being a victim of violence by a family member, and not being as close to their family as they were before they came out. What do all of these motivations have in common? They are brought on by the mistreatment of other people and society. While Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance to commemorate the lives that were lost through acts of hate, it is also important to learn how to be a better transgender ally.Read more
Rocco here with a new meditation video!
Back in May I gave a lecture at Brookdale College for The Pride Network Speak Summit. The summit was a spectacular event, designed to spark an organic dialogue between peers on a range of subjects, including meditation and spirituality.
I wanted to share with you some of the key points of my talk: including what meditation really is and why you don't need an owner's manual to learn how to use this special and essential feature that is built right into your human hardware.
This is part one of a series of 4 videos. So, Over the next 2 months I will be releasing these videos designed to show you how to use meditation to become more content within your own body and ultimately, your entire life.Read more