Monday, June 18, 2018

Celebrating Pride in Union County: LOVE Makes a Family!

Summit Area YMCA Executive Director Tiffany Scott & Patrice Silagi.

As we all know, June is LGBTQ Pride Month, with a number of events being hosted across Union County to celebrate and commemorate the contributions of LGBTQ folks, and to recognize that the fight for equality continues. On Friday, June 15, I stopped by "Celebrate Pride" in Berkeley Heights, their first annual event, sponsored by the Summit Area YMCA. Go, Berkeley Heights!
Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union
On Saturday, the Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day celebration took place at Rahway River Park, with my freeholder colleagues, assembly representatives, and other elected officials from the county in attendance. In addition, a score of other advocacy and ally organizations were present with information of interest to the community. 

Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union
Our major sponsor, WellCare Health Plans, was also on hand to offer advocacy and support. Other sponsors were Shoprite of Clark, Merck & Co., Inc. and the Merck Rainbow Alliance, and the New Jersey State Division of Protection and Permanency. It was an awesome event, and I look forward to it next year! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day--This Saturday, June 16

Below is a press release for this year's Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day at Rahway River Park--I hope to see you there!

Press Release:

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the 2018 PRIDE CommUNITY Day, scheduled for Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m. at Rahway River Park in Rahway. Admission is free to this inclusive celebration of family, equality, diversity and community.

“Standing firmly in support of equality, inclusion and unity, the Freeholder Board is proud to offer LGBTQ and ally parents, teens, children and advocacy groups a place to connect, support and celebrate together,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Pride events matter – in addition to celebrating who you are, Pride events raise awareness of inequalities and provide a platform for support and acceptance of all people. The Freeholder Board is proud to bring together our diverse community and public figures with shared values of justice and equality to use our voice to celebrate unity and promote equality.”

A celebration of all families, Union County’s PRIDE CommUNITY Day will feature music, a variety of arts and crafts (featuring the “LOVE Makes a Family” poster making), family lawn games (think giant jenga-style stacking blocks), inflatable bounce houses for all ages, playground fun, and many other family activities. Families are invited to pack a picnic, a blanket or lawn chairs and head out to the park for an afternoon of fun! Food trucks will also be on site for those who wish to purchase lunch.

A Family Equality Rally will kick off at 2:30 p.m. with special guest speakers and performances. Bring a hand-held signs that celebrates the strength of our diversity.

“As a Freeholder representing the interests of all Union County residents, I believe it is extremely important to lead our communities toward acceptance of all people and advocate for full equality,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, liaison to the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee. “The Family PRIDE CommUNITY Day provides an opportunity for our community to stand in unity to celebrate our diversity and support each other.”

New Jersey LGBTQ advocacy and ally organizations will be set up on site all day with general information, as well as support and networking resources.

Organized by the Office of LGBTQ Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Family PRIDE CommUNITY Day is an inclusive community event for LGBTQ families, allies and advocacy groups.

In January, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced the launch of the new Office of LGBTQ Services. Established as part of Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados’ 2018 Moving Union County Forward initiatives, the new LGBTQ office is the first county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

“The current administration in Washington has created a platform to discriminate and create an environment of fear,” noted Chairman Granados. “Through the Office of LGBTQ Services, the County is dedicated to building awareness of needed protections and advocating for LGBTQ equality, in addition we will be persistent in advancing programs, resources and services to support LGBTQ individuals and their allies.”

The Union County Office of LGBTQ Services, under the Division of Outreach and Advocacy in the Department of Human Services, will provide a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serve as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. For more information about the Office of LGBTQ Services, contact Danni Newbury, Coordinator, at 908-527-4742 or


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thank You, Plainfield, for Your Support!

My door is always open!
I wanted to post a thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past several years during my service as councilwoman in Plainfield. It has been my pleasure to serve, and I look forward to continuing my service at the county level as a member of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. I pledge to remain as accessible as I was as a councilwoman, and I hope that you will continue to reach out to me with your issues and concerns. Click on the link below to be taken to the press release that was issued when I was appointed to fill the vacancy left by our new 22nd District Assemblywoman Linda Carter.

Please note: This blog will be limited to sharing events, press releases, and information of interest to all residents in the 21 municipalities that make up Union County.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Joylette Mills-Ransome for Council--Feels Like Déjà Vu!

It feels like déjà vu!*
Democrats for Council Joylette Mills-Ransome (2nd & 3rd At-large), Ashley Davis (1st Ward), & Linda Carter.

I am endorsing Plainfield Council Vice President Joylette Mills-Ransome to serve a full term as the At-large representative for the 2nd and 3rd Wards. After just a little over a year on the council, Joylette has provided quality constituent-based service, chairing the council's Recreation subcommittee, and serving as a member of the Economic Development and Administration & Finance committees, respectively. 

Community-minded residents in Plainfield all know Joylette, who has been a tireless advocate and volunteer in our city for over 40 years. A longtime member of Central Jersey Alumnae, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Joylette is an earnest and active volunteer at many of her sorority events. She is a Charter Member and Past President (the first to serve 4 years in that office), and has been involved with raising funds for scholarships for high school seniors, developing audiences for areas in the arts, participating in education forums, addressing social action issues that include voter registration and education, human trafficking, letter writing campaigns, participating in World Aids Day programs and providing needed items to children in group homes.  

A devoted member of Shiloh Baptist Church, Joylette remains an enthusiastic volunteer, donating her time and talents to the Lord's Kitchen, the Clothes Closet, and to serving as Executive Director of SHEELD. Joylette recently retired as the Director of Science Education for Newark Public Schools. Even after retiring, Joylette's dedication to the education of children, and especially to STEM-related education, has continued--she has traveled with the People to People Science Education Delegation to exchange ideas with teachers and administrators, and to visit school on all levels. A former Commissioner on the Housing Authority of Plainfield, Joylette completed all of the federally-mandated certification courses and worked diligently to address the concerns of residents and served on the Capital Procurement and Personnel Committees.  
Joylette is also a member of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield, and served as Voter Service Chair, where she coordinated candidate forums and developed and produced the League's Annual Candidate Forum Publication. Joylette's volunteer work includes past service on the Plainfield Board of Education. Joylette's unwavering ethics, her experience, and her passion for helping others will serve our city well. She is committed to helping move Plainfield forward, and I offer my strongest endorsement for her to continue to serve as Councilwoman At-large for the 2nd and 3rd Wards. This year, she will be on the ballot with our Congresswoman, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, First Ward Democratic Candidate Ashley Davis, and the rest of Column B. On Tuesday, June 5, vote for Joylette Mills-Ransome and the entire COLUMN B Team--MOVING PLAINFIELD FORWARD.



*This is a revised post--with a year's worth of experience added in as part of my endorsement of my colleague! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ashley Davis for Council - A New Generation of Leadership for the 1st Ward!

With Ashley at the 2018 "Ready to Run" Campaign event at Rutgers.
“You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” 
--Shirley Chisholm

The above-quote is a favorite of Ashley Davis, the Democratic candidate running for Plainfield's First Ward council seat. Part of Plainfield's rising generation of young people who are stepping up to be a part of our revitalized city's renaissance, Ashley Davis is qualified, dedicated, temperate, approachable, and ready to serve. Ashley represents a new generation of leadership for Plainfield. She embodies the qualities that we look for in our elected officials: honesty, forthrightness, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to collaborate. Currently working as the Coordinator for the City of Plainfield's extremely successful Summer Food Nutrition Program, Ashley is a friendly and familiar face throughout the city, and she has already shown herself to be a dedicated community servant. Her volunteer service is second to none. She serves as Co-Leader of Plainfield Girl Scouts Troop #40263 and, as a member of The Mount Olive Baptist Church, she is a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School Teacher.

Ashley is a highly educated young woman, exemplifying the best of what we want our next generation to be. Ashley attended Evergreen and Maxson Schools, respectively, and graduated from Union County Vo-Tech. She then went on to college at North Carolina State University, where she received a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy, and from there she went to graduate school at Rutgers, where she earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration (M.P.A.). Ashley is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., North Jersey Alumnae Chapter, and is a member of the Plainfield Municipal Alliance.

Ashley's focus is to improve our quality of life, keep our neighborhoods safe, and attract new residents. Her platform is also geared toward engaging our young people in civic life, working hand-in-hand with the Plainfield Youth Commission, increasing funding for job readiness programs, and continuing to work with the rest of the city council to move Plainfield forward with economic development projects that create more jobs for our rising generation of young people and greater stability in our neighborhoods. Ashley has been endorsed by the Union County Democratic Committee, the Plainfield Democratic City Committee, by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, including Linda Carter (soon to be Assemblywoman Carter!), Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, and by Councilors Charles McRae, Joylette Mills-Ransome, Barry Goode, Steve Hockaday, Cory Storch, and me.

Simply put, Ashley Davis is the leader Plainfield's First Ward has been waiting for. Vote for Ashley and all the Column B Democrats on Tuesday, June 5.