Medford Pride on Main is a new organization in Burlington County
Medford, New Jersey, is known to be an active modern community in south-central New Jersey that still has a small-town feel. With about 25,000 residents there is an overflow of community organizations, sports team, and arts groups which allows almost all of the residents of this small suburban town to find ways to be involved in the community. Every month there are festivals from the Apple Festival in October, the Dickens Festival in early December, and the Art, Music, and Wine Festival in June. Now, Medford can add LGBTQ Pride to the list.
After a trip to New Hope, Penn., Medford resident Justin Gibbs noticed that the quaint town was missing something. Gibbs noticed that the feeling of home and inclusivity that he felt in New Hope, he didn’t feel in Medford.
“I wanted Medford [my home] to feel like home for me and everyone else living and visiting here. I want Medford to be inclusive for everyone no matter sexuality, age, gender, or race as we are all human.” Gibbs is the founder and president of Medford Pride on Main (MPOM). “I want to be the voice in the community for those of you who do not feel they have a place here in this community.”
Robin DiGiovanni, a lifelong Medford resident has spent countless years advocating for the LGBTQ community. “I was a contracted re-entry job developer for Pennsylvania parole and did outreach and advocacy within the Philadelphia Counties,” said DiGiovanni. She’s also worked with Philly Fights AIDS and several LGBTQ community resource organizations.
When asked about her involvement with MPOM, she said, “I met Justin at a business on Main Street. I had been following his comments [locally] in June, and when I met Justin it felt like I knew him already. He asked me at that point to help and be on his Executive Board.”
DiGiovanni also wrote the MPOM mission statement: “Create awareness, education, and support in the LGBTQ community. We will provide events that focus on fun and friendship while creating a safe space for individuals in every phase of their lives. We will strive to enhance education forums with children, preteens, high school students. As well as secondary education, which is the key to spreading inclusion to all.
“I am all about providing services: housing, medical needs, clothing, and community resources to a community where these services are not discussed or known.” DiGiovanni said that is what she is most looking forward to. She’s the true definition of what being an ally is.
Medford’s historic main street is lined with antique shops, unique gift shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. So, now a new reason to visit is heading to town. The goal of MPOM is to grow and expand throughout the Southern New Jersey/ Burlington County area. Events ranging from educational forums, drag shows, to child and family based activities are what are in store so that the entire family can come out, support, and enjoy the big event.
Gibbs said “We hope to become a staple of the LGBTQ community in South Jersey, and to be an alternative small-town pride celebration each year. We will bring education and awareness to those who do not understand, and or are not LGBTQ”.
Throughout the year, MPOM will have events ranging from small to large. Events will be for all ages. Medford’s first-ever LGBTQ Pride on Main will be held in May of 2020.
For more information regarding Medford Pride on Main, please visit the website at medfordprideonmain.com