MONTCLAIR, NJ – Leaders from across Montclair Monday officially announced the launch of Out Montclair, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to foster community with and provide support and solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community of Montclair. The organization will offer educational, social, and leisure activities and events to support and promote inclusivity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary and gender-fluid youth and adults. It will also be a safe space where the LGBTQIA+ community and allies can connect.
“Montclair has a strong reputation for being a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community. But we felt that there should be a community organization that gives people a safe space where we and our allies can come together and celebrate who we are – one that can offer all types of activities and events to support and promote inclusivity and community,” said Peter Yacobellis, President of Out Montclair and Township Council Member, who first mentioned the formation of the organization during a recent town hall.
“Imagine public educational programs, a Montclair Pride Festival, special outings for seniors, youth programming, recreational and other events. There is so much we can and will do and this incredible team and I are very excited to get started. We hope you’ll join us,” Yacobellis said.
The organization’s website www.outmontclair.org also went live today to enable anyone who is interested to “get connected”, pledge financial support to these efforts and have access to important resource information for the LGBTQIA+ community. In the coming weeks the organization plans to launch an online merchandise shop and lay the groundwork for a Montclair Pride Festival in 2022.
“We need a Pride Festival in Montclair”, Yacobellis said. “The team and I have been discussing everything from a sound stage, to incorporation of the arts to food and beverage to resource booths. We see so much incredible synergy with existing organizations both in town and even nationally when you look at some of our Advisory Board members. I really can’t wait to begin those dialogues about how to create an incredible Pride Festival, worthy of this community,” he added.
Out Montclair’s first event will be an April 27th panel discussion on gender and pronoun terminology, led by Montclair Councilor-At-Large Peter Yacobellis, Garden State Equality’s Jahmila Smith and Celeste Fiore of the Trans Affirming Alliance.
“Using inclusive language is one important way to show respect for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people,” said Jahmila Smith, Project Manager and Trainer of Garden State Equality. “We hope this panel can serve as the first step to learning more about the trans community and what else residents, employers, educators, and others can do to promote inclusion in Montclair,” she added.
The Officers and Advisory Board of Out Montclair
Peter Yacobellis (President), Montclair Councilor-at-Large
Reubena Spence (First Vice President), Montclair Civil Rights Commissioner & NJPAC Advisory Council
Madeline Gale (Second Vice President), Montclair Civil Rights Commissioner & NJPAC Advisory Council
Andrew Garda (Secretary), Journalist and Equality Advocate
Peter Holm (Treasurer), Community Advocate || Organizer, Quiet Montclair
Eileen Birmingham, Community Volunteer
Bill Courson, LGBT Senior Community Advocate
Maya Deutsch, Transgender and Youth Community Advocate
Celeste Fiore, President, Trans Affirming Alliance
Jose German, CEO, Northeast Earth Coalition || Montclair Parks and Recreation Committee Member
Paul Giordano, President, Upper Montclair Business Association
Lori Gladstone, Social Media Leader and Community Volunteer
Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force || Principal, TargetCue
Barbara Simon, Head of News and Campaigns, National Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Visit www.outmontclair.org to “Get Connected”, pledge support and access important resources. You can also “like” us on Facebook by searching for Out Montclair.