Cory A. Booker, the popular mayor of Newark, N.J., is no stranger to local and national media headlines. Oprah Winfrey deemed Booker "Newark's biggest cheerleader" when he was nominated in 2011 for TIME's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Newark, too, has received its share of national media attention like its mayor, although much of the focus has been on the city's issues with crime rates, public safety, and education.
There is another side of Newark that the headlines often overlook. The Garden State's largest city was recently spotlighted in the Sundance Channel's documentary series Brick City and also was the recipient of Mark Zuckerberg's $100-million Facebook donation for education reform. The story gets even better when it comes to the city's LGBTQ constituency.
Newark is home to an amazing array of LGBTQ community leaders and allies who partner with the city to make it a safe and inclusive place for all its residents. Since the city's initial rainbow flag raising on the steps of City Hall six years ago, Newark now boasts of an LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission, an annual Newark Pride celebration founded by June Dowell-Burton (a local leader), a Queer Newark Oral History initiative hosted at Rutgers University Newark campus, and much more.
Here's a video, produced by Signified, that captures a portion of a conversation that I had with Mayor Booker on LGBTQ advocacy in Newark and what he has done in partnership with the community to make Newark better.