MONTCLAIR, NJ - Nearly four hundred Montclair residents gathered and marched on Saturday afternoon in Rand Park calling for people to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Presidential election.
A group of women calling themselves Suburban Moms Against Re-Electing Trump (S.M.A.R.T.), organized the rally that included speakers like NJ Senator Nia Gill; Marcia Marley, president of BlueWaveNJ; Janeece Freeman Clark, director of Vanguard Theater Company; Paula White, state director of Democrats for Education Reform, and author Abby Sher.
Though mostly women were in attendance, some male supporters, were also in attendance. The event opened with speeches, followed by a march. Marchers held anti-Trump signs and wore purple, in solidarity with the cause.
In attendance, but not on the agenda, was Evelyn Colbert, president of Montclair Film and wife of Stephen Colbert. The League of Women Voters was also in attendance, registering voters.
Marley spoke of the importance of registering to vote and reminded the crowd that the deadline for voter registration is October 13.
She added, "This election is about the future of our planet, about health care, gun rights, criminal justice reform, Black Lives Matter — all these are on the ballot."
Marley continued, "We have already called 150,000 voters in swing states, and we will keep calling and we are hoping to make it a million."
"We are asking you to not only get out the vote but to spend every extra minute in your day and even those minutes that aren't extra in your day to work with us," she added.
Gill was the last to address the crowd before they marched. She spoke of growing up in Montclair and attending Montclair High School. She said that her activism started then. Gill also spoke of her grandson, who attends Montclair High School.
Gill spoke of strong women leaders such as Sen. Wynona Lipman and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Gill stated that Lipman, who is known to have mentored Gill, started out as a PTA mom.
"Right down the street here on Chestnut Street, Wynona Lipman, the first African American senator for the state of New Jersey, started out as PTA president."
Gill then also honored the late Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, and said, "How can we allow our rights to be taken away, when she was willing to stand even when she was ill, and you are gonna tell me you can't send back an envelope for justice?"
She spoke of how easy it is to vote by mail.
"You could vote by mail in your bunny slippers, you don't even have to get out of your sweatpants," Gill added.
The crowd cheered, in response, when she continued, saying, "If you cannot open up an envelope, find a pen, sit at a table and direct and protect democracy in the spirit of Notorious (reference to Ginsberg), then you deserve what you get, not what you want."
Gill went further to speak on equal pay for women. She mentioned that "...it's not about color. This is about country."
Gill added, "We stand in the breach of power for women who fought for the right to vote. We stand in the breach of power for women who worked and were never paid for what they did. We stand in the breach of power for women who said, 'We will make you uncomfortable, but we will speak our truth to your power.' "