LYNDHURST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Citizens came together Monday for a morning dedicated to acceptance, peace and love as families and friends gathered six feet apart to watch the pride flag rise over the township.
Gina Chesmore recently moved to New Jersey from Massachusetts and knew she could not miss this special day.
“I feel like it’s so special. I just moved to Lyndhurst and I can’t believe we’re a town that takes it so seriously,” said Chesmore in an interviews with CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.
Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Tiangeruso told CBS2 that it was an honor to put this event together.
“We did this for dignity, equality and visibility,” Tiangeruso said. “It’s a good time to be showing some positive things that are happening.”
Lyndhurst equality ambassador Christopher Valiante spearheaded the initiative for everyone in his township. He grew up in the Bergen County suburb, but transferred schools when bullying became too much to bear.
“I would come home from school every day crying for two reasons. Either I was getting picked on or if someone else was getting pick on, I cried for them,” said Valiante.
Valiante traveled the world and after watching others stand up to injustice, he asked himself why he wasn’t. Monday was Lyndhurst’s second annual flag raising ceremony and Valiante spent the day handing out mini pride flags and rainbow masks. He wants to share his message with the youngest generation and for the older generation.
“If you noticed today there were a lot of little kids,” said Valiante. “That was more to me than anything in this world.”
Valiante wants children to know they are safe in Lyndhurst no matter who they are.
“Maybe we were wrong about this. Maybe we were wrong and we looked at it differently and this is okay,” said Valiante. “Nobody is harming anyone, this is just love.”