In Spring 2021, we asked the Mahwah town council to fly the Pride flag. Although it is proudly flown by towns in Bergen County and across the country, sadly still not here in Mahwah. We hope hearing from town citizens will help our elected officials stop researching and start implementing. Thank you for your help. Have
The Bergen County LGBTQ+ Alliance created a score card comparing the LGBTQ+ offerings of the towns in Bergen County. See how Mahwah compares and what we could do to make Mahwah a more welcoming community to the LGBTQ+ folks who live, work and attend school here.
Hate and White Supremacists came to Mahwah as an attack on our 2nd Annual Mahwah Pride Celebration on June 13th. The Township of Mahwah proclaims to welcome everyone so this incursion against the LGBTQ+ population could not be glossed over. On July 7th the Mahwah Pride Coalition went to the Township Council asking for three actions to ensure Mahwah lived up to its claims: a Resolution against hate and white supremacists, an ordinance against sound amplification without a permit, and the establishment of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission. The officials agreed to the first two, issuing a Resolution on August 11th.
To foster inclusiveness and community, the Mahwah Pride Coalition hosted a children’s Drag Queen Story Time before the main event, featuring the talented Honey Marie. The potential children’s books to be read were shared on the www.mahwahpride.org website for weeks prior to the event. Unfortunately a national campaign of lies and slander begun a week earlier by a California bigot and promoted by a prominent local Republican through social media and the delivery of hate flyers to local residents’ doors ended with a small group of white zealots standing on an adjacent sidewalk, yelling and impeding the enjoyment of the parents and children who had chosen to attend this activity. We only learned later that the protesters were from the White Life Matters NJ hate group after they were called out by the Anti-Defamation League in an article about Extremists Targeting LGBTQ activities.
Organizers had reached out to police and township officials in advance to ensure safety, but that did not mitigate the fears for performers and attendees. Parents had to prepare their young children to insulate them from the damage that could be wrought by the protesters terrifying them, in the protesting hate group’s misguided mission to “save the children.” Ultimately, the show went on and the crowd choosing to attend and participate far outnumbered the sad but megaphoned group on the sidewalk. But how many who had planned to bring their children chose to stay away due to the nastiness of these hate-mongers? We regret the missed opportunity for those children.
The Mahwah Township Council President David May’s response to Mahwah Pride Coalition Director Susan Steinberg’s request was that the town didn’t support hate groups. She followed up with a request that the response be in writing with a full vote from all council members. His agreement that a Resolution could be made was questioned by Councilwoman Janet Ariemma who questioned “But why would Mahwah support hate groups?” implying it wasn’t necessary. Mr. May responded “That’s why I have no problem passing a resolution saying that,” chuckling. Councilman Robert Ferguson, chair of the Ordinance Committee, also confirmed that they would begin work on an ordinance to block use of mechanized sound amplification without a permit.
After the Coalition followed up again August 10th looking for the resolution on the agenda, the council meeting agenda was amended on August 11th, 2022, and the one year Resolution: Condemning Expressions and Crimes of Hate That Divide and Threaten Our Members of Our Community was presented and approved by the Mahwah Township Council unanimously without discussion.