New Jersey Hills Media Group

Women Of All Political Stripes Urged To Attend Rally (Mount Olive Chronicle)

New Jersey Hills Media Group / Mount Olive Chronicle — January 18, 2018

By PHIL GARBER, MANAGING EDITOR

MOUNT OLIVE TWP. — Irene Sergonis of Budd Lake said she feels compelled to march in Saturday's women's march in Morristown to keep her "sanity."

Gayle Furburt of Mount Olive said she'll be marching in Morristown and that she is "very optimistic" about bringing about a more inclusive country.

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.

In Mount Olive, dozens of women also are expected to join in the demonstration. Buses have been chartered to take people to the demonstration from the Mendhams and Chesters and Long Valley and Mount Olive.

"I have three grandchildren and I want them to grow up in a democracy with clean air and water," Sergonis said. "If you don't speak out, you're complicit. I hope people see they have to get up and speak up."

Sergonis is not new to political rallies. She went to the climate march in Washington, D.C, last April and to the women's march in Trenton last January.

"We are not Charlottesville," she said, referring to the Virginia community where white supremacists marched in August, spurring violence and one death. "We will get through this and we will stand up."

Sergonis will be attending as part of "Mount Olive Cares," one of the many sponsors of the march. The group formed last year to promote democratic values. For more on the organization, email MountOliveCares@gmail.com.

Furbert went to last year's women's march in Trenton and will be in Morristown on Saturday.

"We need to raise awareness that everyone needs to be involved in getting out to vote and supporting candidates with platforms of inclusion," said Furbert who is an adjunct professor teaching design at the County College of Morris. "I'm very optimistic. This is the first time I've seen so many women rise to the occasion and actually consider to be candidates."

In Mendham Township, it will be breakfast for Amalia Duarte and a few dozen friends at her 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.

"There is a school of thought that the women's movement as over but 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.

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.

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