New Jersey Hills Media Group

A Time For Activism

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


We've all started off the new year with hopes for ourselves and our communities. Obviously we hope residents find health, happiness and prosperity in 2018, but we also hope they resolve to engage in the community and stay engaged.

Over the past year we've seen strong interest in civic activism and it has not been a passing fad.

A striking example is the Women's March on New Jersey set to begin at 11 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 20, at Morristown Town Hall and proceed up South Street to the Morristown Green for a rally and speakers to 1 p.m. Among the luminaries expected are new Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife Tammy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.

The march is hosted by Action Together New Jersey, BlueWaveNJ, League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area, Mobilizing Montclair, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Working Families Alliance and NJ 11th for Change.

Many more grassroots organizations will join in. Estimates of the size of the march have climbed from 5,000 to 7,000 to a potential 10,000 people.

Among them will be Madison Area Call to Action (MACTA), which has arranged for a large group of Madison residents to meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Madison Train Station to travel to the Women's March in Morristown, since a parking crunch is looming.

Madison Borough Council members Carmela Vitale and John Hoover are expected to march with the group.

The organizers of the march 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."

At a time when the nation has been rocked by scandals of sexual harassment, Saturday's march is seen as a chance for women to connect, gain strength from support, and enter the political arena.

We welcome this activism. We're seeing more people exercising their right to free speech, and that right goes hand in hand with a free press. Demonstrations can inspire sustained involvement. Right now, local government is working on a multitude of projects that impact health, safety, education and taxes.

This is a great time to really dive in and get involved in local government, and to understand how tax dollars are spent. Even the push to "buy local" is important because it helps keep local businesses afloat — which keeps property taxes down for residents. Residents can make a huge difference in our community by exercising their rights as American citizens and participating in the democratic process. Our system of government is designed to work from the bottom up, not the top down.

The best way to find out what's going on is to attend meetings, or at the very least read the coverage of these meetings in newspapers like the Madison Eagle.

Stay on top of important issues. Keep in touch with your local officials. Consider serving on volunteer commissions. Vote in every election.

And, there's always that ultimate option of civic involvement — run for office.

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