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History of Newark Pride

Love and Jonathan Capehart

Sharronda "Love" Wheeler with Newark native and Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capehart.

Dear Friend of Newark Pride:

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about us! Newark Pride Inc. is a volunteer organization committed to developing a diverse, educational and advocacy driven community. Entering our 14th year, we’ve grown from a compiling of small community events to a robust 4 days of regionally anticipated programming.

I am pleased to say that Newark Pride Inc. remains strong in our 2018 vision to promote knowledge acquisition and mustering collaborative action. Large cities are rarely defined and valued by their physical assets and establishments, rarely are cities assessed by what I believe to be their most valuable asset — the residents. The citizens of Newark, New Jersey are its infrastructure, its heartbeat and its connective tissue. This is the right place to make a difference, starting with the Newark Gay Pride.

Newark Pride Inc. is committed to serving all facets of the LGBTQ community by implementing educational empowerment programming that stimulates critical thinking and dialogue in addition to our wonderful entertainment and recreational events. Through increased visibility and participation, Newark Pride will focus its efforts on LGBTQ youth mentoring, LGBTQ citywide safety initiatives and our aging LGBTQ population.

We have a comprehensive mission to promote our members growth via education, networking and our community service. Even after winning the fight for Marriage Equality, Newark’s LGBTQ community continues to deal with complex issues such as homelessness, discrimination and transgender violence. Newark Pride needs your help as it continues to be a catalyst for change.

It is our hope to reach a target goal from private and corporate contributions in order to finance the diverse programs slated for our comm(UNITY) celebration. In return, we will work closely with your business to develop a promotional plan that is mutually beneficial and in-line with your interests and expectations. I invite you, your business or organization to partner with us. You can do so by volunteering, sponsoring events or making a tax-deductible donation.

There's unity in our comm(UNITY) and on behalf of our Board of Directors and volunteers; I thank you for supporting Newark Pride. Together our impact can be unlimited!


Sharronda “Love” Wheeler
President, Board of Directors
Newark Pride Inc.


The Beginning of the Road

In July, the first Newark Gay Pride is held in Military Park under the direction of founder June Dowell-Burton. A series of related events also occur as part of the city’s first Pride Week.


A Partnership Forms

With the support of Mayor-Elect Cory Booker, Municipal Council and Essex County, the rainbow flag is raised for the first time in Newark in front of the Essex County Court as part of Pride Week.


A First for Newark

Mayor Cory Booker, Councilwoman Dana Rone, June Dowell-Burton, and Reverend Janyce Jackson raise the rainbow flag at the entrance to Newark City Hall for the first time ever in Newark to commemorate the beginning of Pride Week.


Say Her Name

Filmmaker Charles “Chas” Brack directs and produces “Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Story” and along with Sakia’s family members, begins to carry her name from Newark to other spaces around the world.


A First for New Jersey

Newark becomes the first city in the state to form an LGBTQ Advisory Concerns Commission. “Dreams Deferred” screens at 35th Annual Newark Black Film Festival hosted by the Newark Museum.


A Council of Our Own

Essex County Executive, Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. establishes the Essex County LGBTQ Advisory Council.


Where Education Meets Community

  • Newark Pride Alliance and the Hetrick-Martin Institute launch HMI To Go – an after-school LGBTQ program, realizing one of the official promises made after the death of Sakia Gunn.
  • Rutgers University launches “Queer Newark: Oral History Project” to share and record the stories of three generations of LGBTQ Newark residents.
  • President Barack Obama invites Newark Gay Pride to the inaugural LGBT Pride month reception at the White House on June 29th.

And a Child Shall Lead Them

The Newark LGBTQ Commission and Newark’s Youth Policy LGBTQ youth sub-committee publish an LGBTQ Youth Position paper providing recommendations for creating a safer and more supportive environment for LGBTQ youth throughout the city. Mayor Cory Booker endorses the paper.


At the Center of the Community

The Newark LGBTQ Community Center is created as the product of a collaboration between existing groups serving Newark’s LGBTQ Community.


A Chamber Comes to Newark

The New Jersey LGBT Chamber is created and established its 2014 headquarters in Newark.


10 Years of Celebration & Service

Newark Gay Pride celebrates its 10-year anniversary.


Growth in the Wake of Revitalization

  • Annual festival returned to Military Park.
  • Newark Pride Parade down Broad Street for the first time or mention Tracey Africa.
  • Marched from City Hall where our flag hung. 2 floats and 200 participants.