In Trenton, Women’s March On New Jersey Draws 6,000
In a show of solidarity with marchers around the country, 6,000 people filled the space inside and out at the Trenton War Memorial in the Women’s March on New Jersey to call on elected leaders to uphold civil and human rights.
The march was a sister event to the more than 600 marches that occurred around the United States and internationally, offshoots of the Women’s March on Washington, in protest of the rhetoric of President Donald Trump during his election campaign, and came a day after Trump’s inauguration.
Across New Jersey, there were at least eight marches, including one in Asbury Park that drew 6,000, according to police.
“Our president’s greatest opponent will not be a name on a ballot, a leader of a nation, or someone seated in Congress. His greatest opponent will be women like me, who will not rest until our rights, safety, health, and families are protected,” said Elizabeth Meyer, founder of the Women’s March on New Jersey. “We will send a clear message: We are here. We are watching. We are ready to rise.”
At the Patriots’ Theater at the Trenton War Memorial, small groups of women and allies took to the stage to share their personal reasons for attending the march. They spoke on behalf of the diverse coalition of activists, communities, and partnering organizations represented at the march, organizers said.
Many speakers touched on issues that featured prominently in the mission statement of the Women’s March on New Jersey, including reproductive access, racial justice, affordable housing, access to education, and climate change.
“At Planned Parenthood we believe that access to health care should not depend on who you are, where you live, how much money you make, or your race or immigration status,” said Christine Sadovy, advocacy director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “The right to control our own bodies and plan if and when we want to start a family is fundamental and we will not allow it to be taken away. We will not go back!”
Marchers also heard from keynote speakers including U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Luanne Peterpaul with Garden State Equality, professor Dr. Dalia Fahmy, Rep. Donald Norcross, immigration activist Diana Meija, and SEIU New Jersey State Council Executive Director Lizette Delgado.
“It’s an honor to stand with women from across our state and around the country to defend women’s rights, human rights, and civil rights,” Norcross said. “We’re joining together to send a clear message that we will continue to fight for our values and that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.”
Following the program at the Patriots’ Theater, the marchers took to the streets, where they marched to the steps of the New Jersey State House. There, Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt, Elizabeth Muoio, and Shavonda Sumter spoke to the crowd about the importance of taking action. Finally, the march concluded with a powerful speech by Trenton civil rights legend Edith Savage-Jennings.
“The massive number of women marching today in Trenton, Washington, and around the world could be the largest mobilization of women in history,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action.
“Elected leaders across New Jersey and all the way up to the White House should consider themselves on notice that women will not stand for business as usual,” she said. “We will not simply defend our existing rights. We march together to bring collective power to all women – demanding equal pay and jobs that provide a living wage, workplace policies that support families, an expansion of our reproductive freedoms, and a more inclusive nation for all.”