New Brunswick Patch

Buono And Caregivers Celebrate International Women's Day

The event drew a gathering of women's rights activists, labor and community organizations and politicians to New Brunswick.

New Brunswick Patch — Tuesday, March 12, 2013

By Jennifer Bradshaw

Editor's note: The following information is a press release from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

On March 8th, dozens of labor and community groups from across New Jersey celebrated International Women's Day at an event hosted by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The event took place at the Rutgers Labor Education Center and drew participants including State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, elected leaders and community groups from across the state, and 100 nursing home caregivers who are members of 1199SEIU.

"Today we acknowledge the countless women from across New Jersey and around the globe who each day struggle for equality and respect in their personal and professional lives," said Milly Silva, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President for New Jersey. "As women, we are renewing our commitment to combat domestic violence and all other forms of violence that plague our communities. We fight to ensure that our reproductive rights are protected, that our children can attend safe schools and receive a quality education, and that our economy is geared towards creating good jobs and affordable health care for all working families."

Regina Santos, a nursing home caregiver and member of 1199SEIU, shared a personal story of the hardships of a difficult upbringing and of overcoming substance abuse: "I am here because I believe that my story can help to empower other young women who have felt hopeless, who have been victims of violence, and who are looking for the support of a community to make positive changes in their lives."

Women's rights activists from Bangladesh, Egypt, Haiti, and Zambia attended the event and discussed the ongoing struggles to secure equal rights and win social and economic gains for women and girls in their respective countries.

One major theme of the day was the urgency of ensuring that across the nation in 2013, candidates are elected who will be staunch advocates on issues that are critical to women and families. Special attention was paid to the gubernatorial race in New Jersey, where Gov. Christie is being challenged by State Senator Barbara Buono, who spoke at the event.

"Gov. Christie's record on women's issues has been appalling," said Senator Buono."From vetoing equal pay and minimum wage legislation, to cutting millions in funding to family planning organizations, to eliminating legal services that provide aid to victims of domestic violence, he has shown little regard for the challenges that women in New Jersey face each day. As governor, I will be a champion for women and working families across the state who have been forgotten and left to fend for themselves by the Christie administration."

On January 30, 1199SEIU became the first union to endorse Sen. Buono's candidacy and has since been joined by several prominent women's and labor organizations who are determined to elect a governor whose values reflect those of working- and middle-class New Jersey families.

Organizations which co-sponsored the event include:

Elected leaders who attended the event include:

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