Community Briefs: William Way Community Center announces new HIV/AIDS memorial; New Jersey to provide state certification for LGBTQ-owned businesses

Illustration by Ash Cheshire.

WWCC to launch new HIV/AIDS memorial

The William Way LGBT Community Center’s John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives, with support from The Pew Center Arts & Heritage, announced the launch of an HIV/AIDS memorial titled Remembrance: an alternative memorial dedicated to Philadelphians and the HIV/AIDS crisis. Rather than a physical structure such as a museum or object, Remembrance will be a memorial experience comprised of theatrical performances and oral histories by activists and community leaders. 

“It may be hard for some to remember, but there was a time in our city when a gay man who died of AIDS couldn’t even be put to rest with dignity. I’m honored that today we are launching Remembrance, an alternative memorial experience to provide the solemnity and reverence never afforded to those our community lost to HIV/AIDS,” Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, said in a press release. “Remembrance is inspired by the story of a South Philadelphia funeral homeowner, Ron Piselli. It was because of Ron’s bravery during the early days of the AIDS crisis that Philadelphians who died of AIDS could receive a loving and caring funeral at a time when the overwhelming majority of funeral homes rejected AIDS deaths. It is truly fitting we honor his courage, and their lives, by finally giving them the recognition on a citywide scale that they deserve.”

Events for Remembrance include the world premiere of “These Don’t Easily Scatter,” an original theatrical piece written and directed by three-time Obie Award winning playwright Ain Gordon, from May 20-22 at the William Way Community Center; Gone and Forever, a public exhibit and “going home” ceremony, designed and directed by artist/entrepreneur Alex Stadler, from June 21-25; and a new digital history archive housing recordings and transcripts of oral histories collected during Community Listening Sessions, debuting on December 1.

“It is more important than ever to remember those from our communities who have passed from AIDS and to care for those who are living with HIV,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As we continue to work to bring the HIV epidemic to an end, the Remembrance project offers our city a unique and deeply meaningful opportunity to honor our loved ones who must not be forgotten.”

For more information, visit

Gov. Phil Murphy signs Executive Order enabling state certification of businesses as LGBTQ+-owned

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an Executive Order instructing the New Jersey Department of the Treasury to establish a State-backed certification program for LGBTQ+-owned business enterprises. Certification would expand access for LGBTQ+-owned businesses to public and private contracting opportunities and enable those businesses to proudly identify as LGBTQ+-owned in their advertising.

“This Executive Order will make it easier for companies to identify which businesses are owned by the LGBTQ+ community and help ensure diversity in contracting,” Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, said in a press release. “By taking this step, Gov. Murphy once again ensures that New Jersey is one of the most progressive states in the nation when it comes to LGBTQ+ equality.”

Businesses who wish to be certified as LGBTQ+-owned can do so through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. NGLCC is the exclusive third-party certifying body for Certified LGBTBE® companies.

“Enabling the certification of businesses as LGBTQ+-owned will encourage the success of these enterprises by enhancing their visibility, providing them with an extra layer of authenticity in their business ventures, and demonstrating that they are welcome and vital participants in our economy,” Governor Murphy said in a press release. “I am honored to support the endeavors of entrepreneurs from a historically underrepresented community through the creation of this certification program. New Jersey will always value the contributions of our LGBTQ+ community.”

“New Jersey continues its tradition as a leader in LGBT rights by living up to its promise and creating greater access to the American Dream,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “We thank Governor Murphy’s administration for their commitment to the LGBT community – and to all business owners – throughout New Jersey. This victory for inclusivity has once again proved our core values that ‘diversity is good for business’ and that ‘if you can buy it, a certified LGBT-owned business can supply it.’ We are excited to see LGBTBEs in every field, from construction to catering and everything in between, help grow the economy of New Jersey and beyond.”

LGBT business owners wishing to begin the certification process to contract with the NGLCC can find information and an application at

Newsletter Sign-up