by Bill Batson
Over 1,000 people gathered for the first Gay Pride Rockland event in Nyack in 1999. As if to prove the positive force that this public affirmation of sexual identity can have, a Village of Nyack Trustee named John Shields, who would later serve four terms as Mayor, publicly came out of the closet that day. This year’s Rockland County Pride celebration will be held on Sunday, June 11 in Nyack.
Business With PRIDE for PRIDE
During PRIDE month, The Nyack Chamber of Commerce, the village of Nyack Recreation Department and the Rockland County Pride Center is hosting a window/building/grounds/sidewalk decorating “contest” to showcase the greatness of diversity. There will be prizes for Most Proud, Most Creative, Most Decorated and Most Unique awarded during the Rockland PRIDE celebration. Have fun!To enter email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sat., May 20, 2017, 7pm
Nyack Center, DJ, Dancing, and More!
Produced by Kiam Records to benefit Rockland County Pride Center. click here for tickets
Wed., May 31, 2017, at 2:30p
New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and the Board of the Rockland County Pride Center will celebrate another milestone in our growth & development the Rockland Pride Center. 28 S. Franklin Street, Nyack
Thurs., June 1, 2017, 6:30 – 11pm
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Elmwood Playhouse, 10 Park St., Nyack
A Rockland County Pride Center Fundraiser, $125 per ticket includes a private cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception before & after the show. Post-show talk-back. click here for tickets.
Sun., June 4, 2017, 1 -5p
Juried Art Exhibit & Sale to benefit Rockland County Pride Center
Rockland Center for the Arts, 27 S. Greenbush Rd., West Nyack, NY
Wine & Champagne Reception, Complimentary Hors d’Oeuvres.
Friday, June 9 at 8p
Richard Skipper Celebrates Pride!
The Nyack Center
Featuring local Rockland artists Steev Richter and Natasha May DiMarco, along with NYC guest performances by Bobby Belfry, Leanne Borghesi, Sue Matsuki, and Warren Schein. Under the Musical Direction of Michael Lavine.
Tickets are $25 each. Cash bar.
Saturday, June 10, 2-5pm
Family Potluck Picnic in Memorial Park, Nyack
Bring a picnic, a blanket and a friend!
Sat., June 11, 7p… till.
Pride Weekend Opening Gathering
The Speakeasy at the Time Hotel. Complimentary Hor d’oeuvres & Cash Bar
Sunday, June 11, noon – 5
Main Street, Nyack
Rockland Pride Sunday including Vendors, Entertainment, Children’s Activities! Featuring: FogoAzul NYC, Frankie Dee & The Boys, Bach2Rock. For more information or to be a vendor call (845) 634-5729.
In the late 1990s, if you lived in Nyack and wanted to attend one of the major Gay Pride celebrations that are held around the country each June, you had to travel to Manhattan. Phyllis B. Frank, Associate Executive Director of VCS, Inc. enjoyed the annual pride pilgrimage to the city, but thought aloud to others that “even if we had just a group walking behind one sign, we needed to do something for Gay Pride here in Rockland.”
Over 150 non-profit, faith based and community organizations, municipalities and elected officials from across the county and beyond, co-sponsor VCS Rockland County Pride. This number continues to grow and is matched only by the scores of businesses and individuals who advertise in a Directory of LGBT Friendly Businesses, Services and Community Organizations published every June.
The Pride celebrations that are held throughout the world each June commemorate protests that followed a raid by New York City Police Officers on The Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. The uprising in Greenwich Village against a pattern and practice of harassment by public officials is widely regarded as the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement. On May 9, 2016, a meeting was held in New York State concerning the status of an important landmark in the LGBT community. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis met with New York officials to advance a proposal to make The Stonewall Inn a national monument.
Since 1970, VCS Inc. has developed programs to confront heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia, racism and sexism with a particular focus on violence against women. A social justice thread is woven into the fabric of the work of VCS. The first words on their website describe the organization as “a family service agency with an anti-racist, social justice mission.”
Phyllis Frank joined VCS in 1974. Under her leadership, VCS has developed a wide range of LGBT family services, support programs and professional training including evolving expertise in relation to transgender children, youth and adults. Her exemplary efforts resulted in her being inducted into the Rockland County Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2012.
The premise behind VCS is that community lay people can provide high-level counseling for clients with a wide range of serious social problems. The model called “Volunteer Family Counseling Project” was initiated by Dr. Stephen Shapiro and Martin Eisman of the Family Service Association of Rockland County and funded by The Ford Foundation in 1970. The first group of 16 volunteers were recruited, trained and assigned to work with 34 families. The program quickly expanded to 426 families and individuals by 108 trained volunteers. Later that year, the agency moved into offices at 151 South Main Street in New City.
Over forty years later, VCS provides an array of services including child abuse prevention programs, services to older adults and their families and low cost counseling to Rockland residents for a variety of life issues such as separation, co-parenting children, unemployment and domestic violence. VCS conducts a widely acclaimed counselor training program, administers a nationally recognized NY Model for Batterer Programs, and various social justice programs including Rockland County Pride.
On, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and the Board of the Rockland County Pride Center will celebrate another milestone in the growth & development the Rockland Pride Center. Join them at 28 S. Franklin Street, Nyack at 2:30p for a press conference and 3:00p for refreshments & tour
To learn more or donate visit rocklandpridecenter.org.