ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Judah-Abijah Dorrington says walking New York Avenue brings back memories of growing up in 1970s Atlantic City.
"On this street, you could be who you wanted to be," said Judah.
Times have changed, but now Judah is envisioning the next chapter for the city known as "America's Playground."
"And that vision includes diversity, access, inclusion and equity for LGBT people," said Judah.
Judah's leading by example by working as Atlantic City's liaison in the Mayor's Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs.
Judah says there have been discriminations and phobias plaguing those in the LGBTQ+ community.
"I've always felt that if I want things to be different, I'm responsible," said Judah. "I'm responsible for helping to make that happen."
Judah is the first to ever hold the role in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was created by Mayor Marty Small, Sr.
"This is the first step," said Mayor Small. "So we're excited."
Judah, who identifies as non-binary, has met challenges through the years, like bullying.
"It's been a journey for me," explained Judah.
Judah left Atlantic City for over 30 years, returning with now wife and business partner, La Verne Saunders.
"We were blessed to have family that loved and supported us," said Judah.
"We have each other's back," said Saunders. "We inspire each other."
They've been together for 42 years and married for 14, running Dorrington & Saunders, LLC out of their home.
"We help people to heal from oppressions," said Judah.
They help a lot of organizations through education and training.
"We believe that people just need support," explained Judah.
Judah says the same is true for the Atlantic City LGBTQ+ community.
"Our job is to support the efforts of the community and uplift and empower organizations like AC Pride and Be Visible," said Judah.
Judah organizes meetups at local establishments, like Rhythm & Spirits, to help mentor and usher in real change for the city.
Judah says at the age of 65, there are no plans to slow down. One of the goals Judah has for the city is to "see people be able to be themselves." Judah says the LGBTQ+ community should "feel safe" and not fear discrimination.
"I've seen the awareness grow. I have a lot of hope for Atlantic City," said Judah.
For more information:
Atlantic City Mayor's Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs