Newark’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Concerns Advisory Commission Reflects on the One-Year Anniversary of the Tragic Death of DeFarra Ivan Gaymon


Media Contact:  Perris Straughter, Chair

Name:  Newark LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission

Phone:  949-350-5437


Newark’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Concerns Advisory Commission Reflects on the One-Year Anniversary of the Tragic Death of DeFarra Ivan Gaymon

NEWARK, N.J., July 20, 2011– Two weeks ago, the Essex County Grand Jury declined to bring any charges against Essex County Sheriff’s Officer Edward Esposito in connection with the July 16, 2010 shooting death of DeFarra Ivan Gaymon in Branch Brook Park. The grand jury’s decision has brought that fateful day back into the minds and hearts of many within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. While the Newark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Concerns Advisory Commission respects the integrity of the judicial process which found that no crime was committed, we recognize that this ruling is not a comforting closure for those most affected by the painful loss of Gaymon.  All of the Commissioners empathize with the Gaymon family and friends and the pain they have endured.

Amid such pain and loss, positive steps have been taken that the Newark LGBTQ Commission hopes will cast a hopeful light on the Gaymon tragedy. The Commission applauds Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, State Senator Theresa Ruiz, and others within the County government for the recent formation of the Essex County LGBTQ Commission. The formation of this Commission is a direct result of the dialogue and negotiations between County officials and LGBTQ leaders from Essex County during the aftermath of the Gaymon tragedy. The LGBTQ Commission provides Essex County LGBTQ residents with an official voice, influence, and access to policymakers and officials in Essex County government.

“The Newark LGBTQ Commission is forging an alliance with the County’s LGBTQ Commission.  We hope that as we work to empower LGBTQ residents in Newark and improve policies and relations within Newark’s City government, we can work in tandem with the County’s LGBTQ Commission to make all of Essex County a safe and affirming place for all people,” adds Perris Straughter, Chair, Newark LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission. “We strive to have ongoing and direct dialogue with police and safety officials before crises arise, not after.”

The Newark LGBTQ Commission is committed to work collaboratively with the County LGBTQ Commission and both City and County officials to ensure LGBTQ persons are treated with equal dignity by law enforcement and to improve the flow of information between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community when a crisis occurs. The Newark LGBTQ Commission strongly encourages the County LGBTQ Commission and County officials to review the various policies, procedures and operations that adversely impact the LGBTQ community such as the undercover enforcement operation in the Gaymon case.  We believe that while such policies, procedures, and operations are intended to foster a safer County, each must not unfairly target or disproportionately impact LGBTQ persons.

The Commission again gives condolences to the family and friends of DeFarra Ivan Gaymon and hopes that the world remembers the man who was a father, husband and business leader. After such a tragedy, we look toward a hopeful future because of the newly established power and voice that the LGBTQ community has in Essex County. Gaymon’s legacy is one that will empower others and help to keep others safe for years to come.

About Newark LGBTQ Concerns Advisory Commission

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Advisory Commission was founded by Mayor Cory A. Booker and the Municipal Council in June 2009 and its initial seven members were appointed in July 2009. The LGBTQ Commission seeks to improve conditions affecting the cultural, social, economic, political, educational, general health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals and their families, by studying and developing- through partnering with various groups and multiple levels of government – policies, programs and practices to recommend to the Mayor and Municipal Council. In carrying out its mission, the Commission meets monthly on the second Thursday of each month at 6pm in City Hall. All Commission meetings are free and open to the public.

The Commission’s website is:


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The Commission can be reached by email at or by phone at 973-353-9030.


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