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Two River Pride


A community event that will be open to all, Two River Pride will focus on supporting the voices of youth and will include an “open mic” and a proclamation read by Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna
RED BANK, NJ— On Wednesday, June 20, leading civic, arts, and social organizations will partner to launch a new annual event, Two River Pride, Red Bank’s first annual official Pride event. Two River Pride is co-sponsored by the Borough of Red Bank Council Members Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich; the Borough of Red Bank Human Relations Committee Chair David Pascale; Two River Theater Company; and Make It Better for Youth, the Monmouth County Consortium for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth.
June has been officially declared the nation’s Pride month by Presidents Clinton and Obama. Each year, thousands of Pride events around the country celebrate the achievements and commemorate the struggles of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community. A community event that will be open to all, Two River Pride will focus on supporting the voices of youth, who will have opportunities to share their own stories and hear from adult role models.

Two River Pride will be held at Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., on Wednesday, June 20 from 6-9pm. The mayor of Red Bank, the Honorable Pasquale Menna, will read and formally sign a special Pride Proclamation. The event will also feature performances and remarks in the Marion Huber Theater, with JP Nicolaides as MC. These will include an “open mic” for participants to share spoken word, songs, poems, or any expression of their personal stories. There will also be a performance by the Giving Voice Choir directed by Penny Gnesin.

Guest speakers will include community advocates Detective David L. D’Amico, who investigates bias crimes for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, and Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton, Executive Director and co-founder of Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point graduates and their supporters, and a founding member of OutServe, which represents actively serving LGBT military personnel.

In the Two River Theater lobby, personal stories from youth will be filmed and edited for a video that will be shared peer-to-peer as part of anti-bullying efforts in local schools. In addition to the performance elements noted above, Two River Pride will include a reception for all members of the community, with food donated by local restaurants including Dish, Sugarush a Sweet Experience, and Via 45; a screening of the documentary film Stonewall Uprising; and more.

Councilman Ed Zipprich says, “I am proud to be a founding member, together with Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, of the first Pride celebration in Red Bank. Over the years, many members of our community have asked why Red Bank does not sponsor a Pride event. This thought has propelled us to take action, and we are grateful for the rapid response by our elected officials, our Human Relations Advisory Committee, Two River Theater, and the Make It Better for Youth organization to make this event a reality in 2012. Red Bank is an inclusive community and we are celebrating LGBT Pride appropriately—not only with a proclamation declaring June Pride month, but also with a live celebration that will let young LGBT people know that we support their success as contributing members to society.”

Says Kate Okeson, an artist, teacher, and activist who is a co-founder of the Make It Better consortium, “Over the last year, in large part because of statewide Harassment, Bullying, and Intimidation legislation, attention to the rights of our community’s youth are at the center of the conversation, and remain especially close to the hearts and minds of many due to the coverage of the tragedies surrounding LGBTQ-identified youth nationwide. Two River Pride intends to make a place for youth and community voices to join together to discover LGBT history, use their voices to tell their stories, and help make change—and make it better—for future generations.”

“We are very pleased to be partnering with so many local civic leaders to present this event,” says Two River Theater Artistic Director John Dias. “Theater is an essential part of an inclusive and democratic society. Two River Pride will create a space for our community, especially young people, to gather together and share conversation and stories, and stand up for equality. We are excited to be part of this event.”

Two River Pride is open to the public; a $5 contribution is suggested, which will support Make It Better for Youth,

For more information, please contact or visit

Two River Theater Company is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division within the Department of State and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hickory Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Monmouth University, Durso Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, OceanFirst Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation, and many other generous foundations, corporations and businesses.

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TWO RIVER THEATER COMPANY is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. Founded in 1994 by Joan and Dr. Robert M. Rechnitz, Two River Theater is a member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the New Jersey Theatre Alliance,  and ArtPride New Jersey, and has been designated a “Major Arts Institution” by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit 

8th Annual NJ Gay-Straight Alliance Forum This Saturday!


GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Central New Jersey Chapter, once again teams with HiTOPS, the Princeton-based organization promoting adolescent health and well-being, to present the Eighth Annual NJ GSA Forum on Saturday, February 4th 2012, a conference for Gay-Straight Alliances. Pat Griffin, Director of The GLSEN Sports Project: Changing the Game will be the keynote speaker and will be joined by LGBT and ally student and alumni athletes to enhance safe and respectful sports in schools.

Students, advisors, and all supporters are invited to attend and encouraged to bring ally athletes to join in the event. The Forum will take place on Saturday, February 4, 2012, at Long Branch High School, 404 Indiana Avenue, Long Branch, New Jersey. Registration (fees apply), exhibits, networking and a light breakfast will open at 9:00 am and the formal program takes place from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Further information about the Forum can be found by contacting, by calling 609-448-5215, or visiting .

In addition to providing strategies for addressing homophobia and transphobia in school-based athletic and physical education programs, the Forum will offer the ever-popular workshops on coming out, knowing your rights, being an ally, dynamic activities for Gay Straight Alliances to foster respectful school climate and more. This year’s workshops include Time Out for Respect: Making School Sports Teams and Gym Class Great and Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need.  Carol Watchler, GLSEN Central Jersey co-chair says that “students can expect to take home a wealth of ideas for strengthening their Gay Straight Alliances and generating respectful environments for everybody regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression.”

GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL students. GLSEN strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. HiTOPS is a 501(c)3 organization located in Mercer County, New Jersey whose mission is to promote adolescent health and well-being. HiTOPS helps adolescents clarify their values and make responsible decisions regarding their health and actions, and gives parents, teachers and caregivers of adolescents the tools they need to best support and guide the young people they nurture.

Reporters are invited to cover the event, but will be asked to sign an agreement of conduct and ethics regarding the topics, confidentiality, and sensitivity due to children being involved. 

GAYLA! an Alternative Prom for LGBTQ Youth and Their Allies

On June 10th, Monmouth Regional High School in partnership with Make it Better for Youth and PFLAG will host GAYLA! an alternative prom for LGBTQI youth and their allies.

Where: Monmouth Regional High School, 1 Norman J. Field Way, Tinton Falls NJ 07724

When: June 10th, 7 – 11 pm

Cost: $25 per person, and includes food

You must be registered in advance to attend. Please download GAYLA 2011 Registration Form and follow the instructions to complete registration. If All questions can be directed to . Don’t forget to organize your GSA or student group to attend! Download GAYLA! posters now!

UPDATE: If you need a registration form that doesn’t specify the organization/purpose, please download this Dance Registration Form.

GSA Adviser Meet-up

The Make it Better for Youth Consortium will be hosting an important meet-up for GSA Advisers (teacher/faculty, not student leaders) on the 10th of May at 7pm in the Middletown South High School Library. We are asking for your involvement in this meeting as we take steps to solidify our mission and roles.

This year has been an exciting one – complete with a kick-off meeting drawing more interested people and organizations than we hoped for, an incredible dance in February, and currently finding ourselves in the middle of planning another spectacular event (Alternative Prom) for June.

Please plan on attending our very focused meeting on May 10th at 7pm to determine our trajectory for the next calendar year, as well as receive important information on the Alternative Prom.

For more information, please contact .

A Journey of Courage in Song

On April 2, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park, The New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus will be ‘making it better’ through song. Joined by guests the Harrisburg Chorus, the NJGMC will be using song as a means to remember and honor those who have experienced pain and adversity.

Please join us for what we’re sure will be a moving performance. There will be a special exhibit pre-show of groups who support and provide resources for the GLBT community with special emphasis on those that work with youth.

Better Dance!

Jersey Shore PFLAG and the Two River Theater are Making if Better for Youth by hosting the Better Dance for LGBTQ teens and their allies on Sunday, February 6th from 5 – 9pm. The dance will be held at the Two River Theater in Red Bank NJ, and is open to teens 13 – 19 years old. All regional GSAs are invited, and all youth throughout the Monmouth and Ocean County area may attend. There is a suggested entrance fee of $5, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Food will be provided through donation of individuals and local businesses.

If you are an individual or organization who wishes to attend or help out, let us know!
You may also RSVP through our Facebook Event Page for the Better Dance.

Better Dance!

Call for entries: MAKE IT STOP ‘zine

Calling all LGBTQIA teens in the New York (and outlying) area! We want YOU to contribute to MAKE IT STOP, a zine about bullying. We’re open to anything — do you want to do an advice column? Draw a comic? Write a letter to a homophobe? Tell your teachers, parents, friends, what they could do to help? If you want to contribute but aren’t sure what you want to do, that’s ok — email us at and you can join our brainstorming list, and we can show you some ideas that are waiting for the right person. Artists, writers, all are welcome — let’s make something that matters. Get in touch soon!

Deadline: December 15th

Friday Nights for Youth at Trinity Church Asbury Park

LAST FRIDAYS THROUGH THE SCHOOL YEAR:  Movie and Games Night at Trinity Church, 503 Asbury Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ (732-775-5084).

Young people Grades 6 – 12 are invited to play games and watch a movie with popcorn, pizza, and soda from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.
This activity will occur on the last Friday of most months throughout the school year.  Check back for updates and exceptions.

Two River Theater Holds LGBT Coffeehouse

Have you seen the It Gets Better videos, and wondered what to do in the meantime?

The Two River Theater in Red Bank NJ will be hosting a coffeehouse for LGBT youth on Saturday, November 27th, from 6 – 8pm.

Whether you are feeling alone, finally finding your community, or anywhere in between, come share your story.  Sing a song, perform a poem or monologue, bring a piece of your art to put on display, do some stand-up, share your pain or joy or frustration or humor in an artful way.  Or come to listen to other peoples’ stories and just drink coffee and hang out.

We’ll film our own It Gets Better video that night — you can help!  RSVP᾿s are encouraged, but not required: 732-345-1400 x1814.  Artists who would like to participate should email Two River Theater’s Director of Education, Kate Cordaro for the info —