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Ridgewood Reverend Asks Council For Gay Pride Month

The Rev. Jan Philips before the Ridgewood Council Wednesday.
The Rev. Jan Philips before the Ridgewood Council Wednesday. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — The Rev. Jan Philips of Ridgewood asked the Village Council Wednesday night to designate June as Gay Pride Month in the village.

Philips, a Quaker, chairs the Community Relations Advisory Board (CRAB) of Ridgewood and Glen Rock.

“On June 12, 2016 an Orlando, Florida gunman went on a shooting rampage, killing 50 in the gay night club, Pulse,” Philips said.

Like so many communities, she added, Ridgewood raised a rainbow flag for 24 hours.

“For 24 hours we affirmed a belief in the equal dignity of each other,” Philips said.

“For 24 hours, we exhibited a symbol that inclusiveness and respect is a community value.”

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CRAB, whose members range in age from 14 to 90, didn’t realize the flag would be flown for only one day, she noted.

This year, she suggested a rainbow flag be flown at Village Hall from June 1 to June 30, essentially creating a Gay Pride Month.

According to Philips, the suggestion first came from a single village resident.

But, she said, it has since been supported by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, the Ridgewood Guild, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Garden State Equality, the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the LGBTQ Advisory Board to the Bergen County Freeholders.

The council, which was in a work session Wednesday, offered no reaction in the moment.

Since the late 1980s, when CRAB formed, it has met in Ridgewood the third Wednesday of every month.

The group’s mission is to support victims of bias crimes and create intercultural experiences that promote awareness and sensitivity.

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