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Two River Pride

LEADING CIVIC, ARTS, AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS PARTNER TO LAUNCH TWO RIVER PRIDE, RED BANK’S FIRST ANNUAL OFFICIAL PRIDE EVENT, ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 FROM 6-9 PM AT TWO RIVER THEATER

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, https://makeitbetter4youth.org/.

For more information, please contact pride@makeitbetter4youth.org or visit http://www.facebook.com/events/234446559995279/.

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 www.trtc.org. 

Ryan Cassata Makes it Better!

Ryan Cassata, beloved trans-activist and singer-songwriter has been a popular guest and performer in Central Jersey (and around the country!) at schools and LGBTQ community groups over the last few months. He recently reached out to us at Make it Better to talk about teaming up with a fundraiser and awareness campaign.

If you don’t know Ryan, I personally think you are missing out. He’s a stellar speaker and musician, honest activist, and down-to-earth guy. One with a heart of gold, I might add. When Ryan contacted MIB4Y, he wanted to do something to help get our cause and commitment circulating. He has a new single (just released) and video (being released soon) called Hands of Hate, to which you can now listen. The message is aligned with the work we do at MIB4Y, and he has offered to highlight us in his upcoming performances with special edition of pins for the new single Hands of Hate.

Ryan has decided to donate all proceeds from the sales of the pins to help us out with the events and opportunities we provide for youth in the Monmouth/Ocean county region.

Support Ryan and us with a purchase of the special Make it Better for Youth pin! Visit the tumblr for this partnership!

Here’s a preview of Ryan’s upcoming album The Rhythmn.

http://stopthehandsofhate.tumblr.com/

2nd Annual Monmouth County GSA Prom

Springtime is Prom-time!  Save the Date: May 4th

Get out your calendars! Friday, May 4th will be the second annual Make it Better 4 Youth GSA Prom. This year, Middletown South will be hosting the event, complete with food, music and fun from 7-10pm.  Tickets are $15 per person, payable at the door.

All students participating will need to register in advance using the student contract and return the form to Mr. Koumoulis at Middletown South. Submit the form through your GSA adviser. Advisers: please submit all forms ASAP as stated above.

Still have questions? Email prom@makeitbetter4youth.org

Please email prom@makeitbetter4youth.org to receive updates for your GSA, organization, or individuals who are interested in participating.

Ryan Cassata Sings, Performs at RFH

The RFH Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is hosting an evening with transgender activist, motivational speaker, and singer-songwriter Ryan Cassata on Friday evening, April 13. Ryan, who is from Long Island, NY, began speaking publicly at the age of 14, and by the age of 18 had successfully cut two records, booked and went on several tours, won the Harvey Milk Memorial Award and appeared on National & International TV several times. Ryan plays guitar, piano, harmonica, and sings.

Ryan Cassata is a strong advocate for the Transgender community and has appeared on The Larry King Live Show (2009) and the Tyra Banks Show (2010) talking about ‘trans’ topics. He travels the US speaking at high schools, colleges and conferences sharing his story with a mission to educate and end ignorance around the transgender community.

Ryan has been invited by the RFH GSA to speak as part of a week of events they are holding at the high school. Co-sponsored by Make it Better for Youth, the Monmouth County Consortium on LGBT Youth, the evening will have informational available from PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and include a Q&A session after the performance.  The performance is at 7pm, and is open to the public. There is a suggested donation of $5 for the evening, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.