New Jersey Hills Media Group

Women Of All Political Stripes Urged To Attend Rally

New Jersey Hills Media Group / Observer-Tribune — January 18, 2018

By PHIL GARBER, MANAGING EDITOR

Lisa Bhimani brought her 16-year-old daughter, Bella, to last year's women's' march in Washington, D.C, and mom and daughter will be among those marching on Saturday in Morristown.

The march, titled "Power to the Polls," will take demonstrators from town hall in Morristown to the green, for an array of speakers, including Gov. Phil Murphy.

"It's so important for women of today and daughters to know about standing up for women's rights," said Bhimani of Mendham Township.

A Democrat, Bhimani narrowly lost her bid to unseat 25th District Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, in last year's election. Bhimani is expected to run in the 2019 race for Assembly.

Bhimani, a retired physician, said the march should draw attention to the need for equal treatment of women, including equal pay and equal opportunities in education.

"I'm doing this for my daughter and for me," Bhimani said. "Having the women's march in Morristown is amazing."

She said the election of Donald Trump as president has had a transformative effect on her daughter.

"My daughter was relatively soft spoken until the 2016 election," Bhimani said. "She was so personally upset with the election of the 'pussy grabber in chief"

And it will be breakfast for Amalia Duarte and a few dozen friends at her Mendham Township home on Saturday morning and then it will be on to the women's march in Morristown.

Duarte, a Democratic Township Council member in Mendham Township, has organized the breakfast to prime people to show solidarity in pressing for "respect and equality" for women.

Buses have been chartered to take people to the demonstration from the Mendhams and Chesters and Long Valley and Mount Olive.

"There is a school of thought that the women's movement as over hut I never bought that," said Duarte. "This is a wake up call. We're still dealing with all the (sexual abuse) allegations and women are still fighting to get paid the same as men. And still, women are way in the minority in elected office."

Duarte said the issues effect all women and she was hopeful that the march will include women from both political parties.

"Given this moment in time, I hope it's a cross section of women, Republicans, Democrats, girls and grandmothers," said Duarte, who went to the 2017 women's march in Washington, D.C, on the day after Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

Democrat Veronica Fernandez lost in her bid last year for a seat on the Washington Township Committee. She said she will going to Morristown aboard a rented school bus with 45 women and a waiting list.

"I'm going because I would be crazy not to,'" Fernandez said. "It's solidarity and fun. We need to accomplish more organization, networking and a bigger presence."

Rhonda Allen of Harding Township said she wouldn't miss the march.

"I want to show solidarity and support," said Allen, a Democrat who lost her bid for a seat on the Harding Township Committee last year. "I am proud that Morristown is the place in New Jersey where they chose to have the march."

One area woman who won't be going to the march is Chester Mayor Janet Hoven, a Republican. She said she supports women "exercising their right to free speech."

"It's just not on my radar to go," Hoven said. "I don't have a problem with the march at all" She said she was hopeful that the march will be a positive, non-partisan statement. That wasn't her feeling about last year's women's march when she felt her position of being against abortion was in the minority.

Town Hall Kick-Off

Participants in the march will meet at 11 am at Morristown Town Hall at 200 South St. and then walk a half mile to the Morristown Green for a program of speakers. 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.

"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 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 Town Hall by Elizabeth Meyer, founder of the Women's March in Trenton and co-organizer this year, and Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty.

Khyati Joshi, a Fairleigh Dickinson University professor who specializes in immigrant communities and race in America, also will be there.

"As an Indian American Hindu woman, I march for a diverse, welcoming America where every member of my interfaith, multi-racial, immigrant family — and everyone else, wherever they came from and however they got here — has equal rights and opportunities," said Joshi.

Scheduled speakers include Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC); Liz Abzug, daughter of feminist leader, Bella Abzug; and Essma Bengabsia, political activist.

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, League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area, Mobilizing Montclair, Mount Olive Cares, New Jersey Citizen Action, 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 eventbritecom/e/womensmarch-on-new-jersey-2018-tickets-41360900567. Participants are encouraged to use public transportation including NJ Transit and car pooling.

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

Top Top | NJCA in the News | NJCA Homepage