New Jersey Hills Media Group

Madison Women To Take Part In March

New Jersey Hills Media Group / The Madison Eagle — January 18, 2018

By KATHY SHWIFF, Staff Writer

MADISON — At least 100 Madison residents are expected to participate in the Women's March on New Jersey in Morristown this Saturday, Jan. 20.

About 40 people gathered Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Madison Community House on Cook Avenue to make signs to carry at the march. The sign-making party was sponsored by Action Together Morris County, Madison Area Call to Action (MACTA), Chatham Moms for Change and the League of Women Voters.

Given an expected parking crunch in Morristown, MACTA has arranged for a group of Madison residents to meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Madison Train Station on Lincoln Place to travel to the Women's March. Madison Borough Council members Carmela Vitale and John Hoover are expected to march with the group.

Three Generations

Nicole Bearce of Madison said she attended the Women's March on New Jersey in Trenton last year with her mother. This year, they will be joined by her 15-yearold daughter.

"It's just as important this year as it was last year to go out there and march," Bearce said, noting that she will be marching for her daughter's generation and generations to come so "they will find themselves in a more fair and just and inclusive community."

She pointed to the activism of such groups as NJ 11th for Change, which has been campaigning for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-ll, to hold a "town hall" meeting with his constitu- ents. It is one of the march organizers.

A change in the representation of the local congressional district could be the start of change in Washington, Bearce said.

Mikie Sherrill, a declared Democratic candidate challenging Frelinghuysen next November, is holding a fund-raising breakfast in Morristown before the march.

Madison residents Rachel Barry and Jill Rhodes helped organize the sign-making party. Neither of them attended a women's march last year, but they are looking forward to the Morristown event Saturday.

'Great Moment'

Barry said she has been very active in the past year. "It feels like a great moment to get together with all the people that I know virtually online."

She particularly wants to hear one speaker, Cinthia Osoria, a community organizer with Wind of the Spirit and a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. "I think it's going to be full of inspiring people and just a kind of great day to recharge."

Rhodes said she is looking forward to the positive energy and "feeling buoyed for all our efforts and being re-energized to continue forward." Both women campaigned for local candidates in the Nov. 7 election, and Rhodes also helped get out the vote for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

Since her brother's recent death, Rhodes is especially interested in ensuring universal health care and closing the gaps in the social safety net.

As a biological anthropologist, she also has been spurred to action by the denial of science and climate change as well as "the fact that we have a president who's allowed to literally lie as a.regular habit."

Barry said she has been interested in racial justice since she was student.

She also would like to see Murphy improve NJ Transit, which her husband uses to commute to New York. "I really hope for the sake of so many people who depend on that to get to work... that they can figure out some solution and mitigate some of the crazy."

The march begins at the Morristown Town Hall, 200 South St., at 11 a.m. From there, participants will march to the Morristown Green to hear from a number of speakers, including Gov. Phil Murphy. Among the topics addressed will be voting rights, health care, gun control, immigration, the environment and education. The march is expected to conclude by 1 p.m.

Mission Statement

The march's organizing groups have issued a Mission Statement: "To harness the political power of diverse Women and their communities; to create transformative social change by providing a safe and accepting platform for supporters to rally and march in promotion of civil rights for every human regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion, or creed."

In alignment with the national Women's March platform, the organizers adopt unity principles related to reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers' rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigration rights, environmental justice and ending violence.

Women's March on New Jersey 2018 goals are to:

The march's slogan is "power to the polls."

Participants are urged to take public transportation or to carpool and to arrive early.

The expected crowd is estimated at 5,000 to 6,000 people, although Morristown police are girded for a turnout of up to 10,000 people.

'In Solidarity'

"The anniversary of the Women's March is a reminder of the power and promise of women's leadership, advocacy and organization," Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, one of the speakers, said in a prepared statement. "On Jan. 20th, across the nation, our colleagues, family members, friends and allies will stand in solidarity and in defense of women's rights, equity, health and protection. I'm elated to join this celebration here in New Jersey, once again, as we commemorate a transformative movement in this nation's history and what I'm sure will be a Year of Women."

The first portion of the program will include a welcome address at Tpwn Hall by Elizabeth Meyer, founder of the Women's March in Trenton and co-organizer of this march, and Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty.

Khyati Joshi, a Fairleigh Dickinson University professor who specializes in immigrant communities and race in America, also will be on hand. "As an Indian-American Hindu woman, I march for a diverse, welcoming America where every member of my interfaith, multiracial, immigrant family — and everyone else, wherever they came from and however they got here — has equal rights and opportunities," Joshi said.

Scheduled speakers include Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy; Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver; Lizette Delgado-Polanco, political director of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters; Liz Abzug, daughter of the late feminist leader Bella Abzug; Nancy Hedinger, president of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey; Kim Gaddy, environmental justice organizer with Clean Water Action of New Jersey; Hetty Rosenstein, area director for New Jersey for the Communications Workers of America; and Essma Bengabsia, a New York University student who is president of The Muslim Network.

The Women's March on New Jersey is hosted by Action Together New Jersey, Black Lives Matter Morristown, BlueWaveNJ, Communications Workers of America - District One, the League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area, Mobilizing Montclair, Mount Olive Cares, New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, NJ 11th for Change, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey and Wind of the Spirit.

Tickets are not required for the march but participants are asked to register with EventBrite for planning purposes. To register, go to eventbrite. com/e/womens-marchon-new-jersey-2018-tickets-41360900567.

Backpacks are not permitted.

Attendees will be required to pass through checkpoints/barricades. Posters must be made of posterboard, foamboard, or cardboard and be handheld. Posters with wood or metal attachments are prohibited. Chairs also are not permitted.

This Sunday, Jan. 21, a march in Las Vegas will mark the one-year anniversary of the historic Women's March in Washington, D.C., last year. That event will launch a national voter registration tour.

Similar marches are scheduled in New York City, Philadelphia and other U.S. cities during the weekend.

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