LGBTQ Elected Leaders & Advocates in Essex respond to Jack Ciattarelli’s Anti-LGBTQ remarks.
Maplewood’s first out and open LGBTQ Councilperson, Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis says:
“I’m not surprised that Jack Ciattarelli wants to roll back inclusion and ‘bring us back to the basics’ to use his own racist and homo/transphobic dog whistles, a state in which black and queer lives don’t matter, their basic civil rights erased. But he’s out of touch with the majority of our Garden State of Equality where inclusion is a strength not a weakness, where our LGBTQ+ youth are affirmed, where our classrooms are safe & welcoming spaces for all students. Our public education (the best in the nation) should reflect our nation’s true history and the stories and contributions of all persons including those of our LGBTQ civil rights trailblazers, cultural zeitgeists or icons, and everyday LGBTQ+ persons who are living openly and truthfully. Our kids need to see themselves in school classrooms, textbooks, and social settings everywhere so they know that they belong and that they too matter. Bullies like Jack Ciattarelli are always lurking around and the reason why too many LGBTQ youth consider suicide rather than pride. People like Jack who could use their visibility and power for good are the reason shame and stigma still keep people in the closet, and why conversion therapy and pray-the-gay away tortured (and in some instances obliterated) too many queer lives – I barely survived it myself.
Governor Phil Murphy is a true LGBTQ+ Ally, his cabinet reflects us, his advocacy and actions include us. He’s the obvious choice for fairness, equity and justice in NJ, not Jack whose brand is hate & division – that is his special interest.”
South Orange – Maplewood School District Board of Education First Vice President (and the first and only out open non binary BOE elected in the State of NJ) Shannon Cuttle says:
“Students need to see themselves mirrored and reflected in what they read, across the curricula, in hallways, classrooms, from the cafeteria to the playground, and beyond reflective of our diverse communities. Visibility matters. Representation matters. And as leaders, mentors and role models, we understand words and actions matter, it can save lives and it can change lives. We should strive in our commitment as caring adults, teachers, leaders and policymakers who mirror and reflect our diverse student populations and communities. We all have a shared responsibility and an important role to play in maintaining and building a safe, welcoming and affirming learning environment for all our students. Hate speech, bias and discrimination impact all students; that’s why we must call out hate speech and bias whenever we see it or hear it. We must condemn all forms of hate speech and violence and denounce expressions of hate and bias in our classrooms and communities.”
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