Jun 15, 2021 RWJ Somerset and Downtown Somerville Alliance Unveil PRIDE Month Mural

The Downtown Somerville Alliance (DSA) unveiled their PRIDE Month Mural on Friday – a 75 Foot tribute to trailblazers in the LGBTQ Movement. The Mural is the latest in a partnership between the DSA, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (RWJ Somerset) and the Babs Siperstein Proud Center (Proud Center) to host a series of events in downtown Somerville to celebrate PRIDE Month throughout June.

“Everyone who steps foot in downtown Somerville should feel safe, valued and represented,” said Natalie Pineiro, Executive Director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, “we’re grateful that we can join forces with such a respected name in community health to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and help us on our mission to achieve a more inclusive downtown for all.”

The mural was commissioned by the DSA as a part of their “Paint the Town Rainbow” campaign with RWJ Somerset and was created by David Ayllon of Korn Hynes Communications. The installation features national icons like Harvey Bernard Milk, state icons like Christian Fuscarino of Garden State Equality, local icons like LGBTQ+ rights attorney Frank Morano of Bound Brook and many more.

“We were proud to partner with the Downtown Somerville Alliance to create the Pride Month mural which stands as a symbol of Somerville’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and sends a message loud and clear that all are welcome here. The LGBTQ trailblazers past and present featured on the mural remind us of the progress that has been made in LGBTQ rights over the past several decades and the work that continues today. We are especially proud that two of our own employees - Avery Heimann, patient services representative, and Jamila Carter, RN, a registered nurse, from our Babs Siperstein PROUD Center – are featured on this mural along with the late transgender activist Barbra “Babs” Casbar Siperstein, namesake of our Babs Siperstein PROUD Center.”

The installation will be on display for the public throughout the month of June.

This is the DSA’s second year partnering with RWJ Somerset and the Proud Center for Pride Month. And while last year’s celebration was completely virtual, this year’s celebration includes in-person activities for the entire family.

In addition to the mural installation, the Paint the Town Rainbow campaign includes a photo contest for residents and business owners and a ‘Love is Love’ Family PRIDE Night event on June 24th.

The contest encourages the community to decorate their homes and store fronts in Rainbow décor for a chance to win prizes like a $200 gift card to a downtown Somerville business, or a cash prize for downtown businesses who participate.

Pride Night will be the first organized, in-person celebration of pride in downtown Somerville, and will include discounts and specials throughout the district, as well as live music by The Strangers, an animated photo booth, and glow in the dark swings, seesaws and other glowing activities throughout Division St.

The event is free of charge to participate in, and appropriate for people of all ages.

“Division Street was envisioned as space for community – a place where people can come together with their neighbors, families and friends to share laughs, smiles and take in a one-of-a-kind experience. We’re excited that our first Family Pride Night can take place right here.” Pineiro said.


About the Downtown Somerville Alliance

The Downtown Somerville Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. They are the District Management Corporation for Downtown Somerville, NJ - one of New Jersey's premiere downtowns. The district has become known for its colorful dining scene, flourishing retail, and up and coming arts and culture scene. They promote balanced and progressive economic development and leverage the art of creating experiences that continue to bring a new and diverse population to Somerville. The DSA oversees infrastructure and beautification projects and work with historians and environmentalists alike to maintain and promote the historic charm that is unique to the district.

Visit them online at DowntownSomerville.com or follow them on social media @DowntownSomerville (instagram) and @DowntownSomervilleAlliance (Facebook).

About the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center
RWJUH Somerset’s Babs Siperstein PROUD Center, which opened in January 2017 in the hospital’s Somerset Family Practice and at the time, the first of its kind in the state, provides services tailored to meet the unique health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community in a safe, supportive environment. Services include primary medical care for children and adults, hormone therapy and monitoring, HIV care, health education, counseling, support groups and referrals for specialty services such as behavioral health services. Since opening as part of the hospital’s Family Practice, the Center has now expanded to its own space and is open for appointments five days a week with dedicated staff, including a patient navigator, a team of nurses and a new PrEP counselor. In addition to comprehensive medical services, the Center holds an array of support groups, including ‘PROUD Transitions – Transgender Family Support Group’. Led by facilitators from the transgender community, the group helps parents, spouses, partners and adult children better understand and cope with their transgender family members.

For more information about RWJUH Somerset’s Babs Siperstein PROUD Center or to schedule an appointment, call 1-855- PROUD-FH (1-855-776-8334) or visit www.rwjbh.org/somersetproud

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is a nationally accredited, 341-bed hospital in Somerville, New Jersey, providing comprehensive emergency, medical/surgical and rehabilitative services.

The hospital is nationally recognized as a Magnet® hospital for nursing excellence and has earned an “A” Hospital Safety Score from Leapfrog - its highest patient safety rating.

The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned national accreditation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The hospital is also distinguished for its Joint Surgery Institute, receiving the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery, and is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has been named a Center of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation. In addition, it has received the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for its acute myocardial infarction program.

Honored as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign, the hospital was the first in New Jersey to offer primary care services for the LGBTQIA community.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset also offers outpatient services at convenient locations in Central New Jersey, including physical therapy services in Bedminster, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Princeton and Flemington and an urgent care center and a sleep disorders center in Hillsborough. In addition, the hospital’s affiliated physician practices provide care for families throughout its community. For more information about Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, visit www.rwjbh.org/somerset.