SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — SOMA PRIDE 2021 is a time for South Orange and Maplewood residents to come together as one in celebration of all LGBTQ-plus identities and allies collectively united. The monthlong schedule of events will shine a light on LGBTQ-plus issues with books, films, discussions, performances, picnics and parties, and recognize the progress made and how much more there is still to do.
“In the words of my idol, Harvey Milk, hope is not silent. It is spoken through marches and rallies, it’s celebrated in our triumphs, it’s created through our struggle, it’s rooted in our love for one another, in peace, equality and harmony,” Maplewood Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis said. “I’m truly proud of our diverse PRIDE program this June, where we will raise our voices and lock hands after a year of being isolated, silenced and disconnected, after four years of being under attack and on the precipice of yet another big Supreme Court ruling on which our dignity and right to coexist hang.”
Organizers stressed that celebrating and recognizing Pride Month is especially important this year.
“So far this year more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in over 33 states, making 2021 a record year with anti-LGBT legislation targeting LGBTQ-plus persons, especially trans youth,” SOMA Board of Education 1st Vice President Shannon Cuttle said. “We need to stand together, in action and celebration during Pride Month and throughout the year. Visibility matters! Representation matters! It can change lives! It can save lives!”
“We are thrilled to partner with and celebrate SOMA PRIDE,” South Orange Trustee Bob Zuckerman said. “This past year has been a rough one, so it’s going to be especially meaningful to come together as one community. … Help us to embrace our diversity and celebrate with our LGBTQ-plus residents and allies during the most fabulous month of the year!”
For a complete list of SOMA PRIDE 2021 events, visit www.somapride.com.
“Maplewood is honored to celebrate Pride and to host a multitude of events every June, including PRIDE Fest, and our community is proud to be a leading voice and advocate for LGBTQ-plus rights not just in June, but 365 days a year,” Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee said.
“SOMA has a rich, intersectional community that embraces diversity. Not only do we educate, raise awareness and show support to our LGBTQ-plus friends and allies, we celebrate big time — as one,” South Orange President Sheena Collum said. “So grab your rainbow and come out and join us!”
Primary sponsors of SOMA Pride are: The Able Baker, The Apothecarium, Dippy Sippy, The Fringe Salon, The GYM Maplewood, Jennifer McManus Real Estate, REMERCH, Robert Shaffron Real Estate, SOMA Film Festival and Village Trattoria.
Planning organizations are: Columbia High School, CHS Spectrum Club, Funky Fun Art, Garden State Equality, Hilton Neighborhood Association, interACT Theater Productions, LGBT Senior Housing and Care, Maplewood Department of Community Services, Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture, Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood Township, Maplewood Village Alliance, Maplewood Youth Advisory Committee, Morris County Pride, MAPSO Youth Coalition, Newark LGBTQ Community Center, NJ LGBT Chamber, North Jersey Pride, Pleasant Valley Productions, Progressive Theater, Rustin Center for Social Justice, SOMA Action Racial Justice, SOMA Community Coalition on Race, SOMA Justice, SOMA Two Towns for All Ages, South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange–Maplewood Board of Education, South Orange Public Library, South Orange Village, South Orange Village Center Alliance, Springfield Avenue Partnership and Words Bookstore.