On Sunday, June 2, NJEA members joined with thousands of other residents to march in the 28th annual New Jersey Pride Parade in Asbury Park. This event was a great opportunity for members to show support for LGBTQ+ students and fellow members.
NJEA President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller, and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty represented NJEA in the parade. They were joined by members of the NJEA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Committee, who sponsored the float and parade.
NJEA’s participation in the pride parade focused on the importance of creating safe and inclusive schools. “Studies show that when an LGBTQ+ student has someone they can go to they do better in school” said Chris Canella, NJEA and SOGI member. Canella further noted the benefits of having visible LGBTQ+ role models in school communities for all students.
Reaching beyond the parade and the impact in education alone, many in attendance pointed to the broader social impact of demonstrating support for the LGBTQ+ community. “As a parent and an educator, I am honored to promote peace, tolerance, love and acceptance within my classroom, school, and home” said Linden Education Association member Beckie Cartinella. “We honor those who have paved the way for the new legislation to pass in our state to include LGBTQ+ history and be integrated into our schools.”
In the coming months, NJEA members will be working with the Department of Education to design an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum. NJEA members have been instrumental in creating inclusive classrooms and safe spaces for all New Jersey’s students.