EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - They started to arrive around 5 am on Saturday morning, armed with cases of water, big boxes of granola bars, and dozens of rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. They were loud; they were proud, and they were ready. One could almost say "fired up."
106 women and 1 man boarded a bus in the J.C. Penney parking lot at the Brunswick Square Mall to join travel to the Women's March on Washington. The mood was supportive an jovial as friends waited for the buses. Mothers brought their daughters. Teenagers and senior citizens seemed united in purpose and eager to join other women from around the country to make sure their vices were heard by the new administration in the nation's capitol.
One East Brunswick mom who brought her two daughters said, "I want to do this for my girls. I want them to grow up in a truly United States of America." Like most march participants in this group, she stressed the feeling of solidarity she had with other women in the group and her desire to see a bright future for all women.
East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen supported all exercises of democracy surrounding the inauguration and the march: "It is a hallmark of our democracy that we enjoy the tradition of a peaceful transition of power. While we witnessed this yesterday, we remain a county that is very much divided. I wish President Trump well as he assumes the mantle of government. I hope that he will work to heal this divide. But that will only start if you talk less and listen more. I am proud of our residents who plan to exercise another great hallmark of our democracy- the right to free speech. I hope that their efforts lead us to a better place."
The bus trip was organized by Jennifer Harmon, a resident of East Brunswick and a speech therapist in the Milltown Public Schools. "Planning the trip has given me a focus. I want my views to be heard," said Harmon.
Organizing the bus trip is the starting point of Harmon's "action plan" for the next four years: "I oppose policies that I find are not in the best interest of my children or me, " noting the Trump's positions on women's rights, charter schools and the press were unacceptable to her. "I didn't know that the freedom of the press was a negotiable thing. It would not be this way if any other Republican had been elected."
Many women going on the march expressed unhappiness with the content of President Donald J. Trump's Inaugural Address on Friday.
The East Brunswick group left around 6:30 on Saturday morning to travel to RFK Memorial Stadium where marchers will take the D.C. Metro to the march site at Independence Avenue and 3rd Street SW. People are scheduled assemble at 10 a.m near the Smithsonian Museum. The bus drivers who arrived in East Brunswick confirmed that here was heavy traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike today. Emergency closures on the Turnpike Extension Bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania were also expected to cause travel delays.
Over 300 "Sister Marches" of the Washington March are expected to take place all over the country and the world today. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat representing the 12th Congressional District that includes most of Middlesex County, chose not to attend the Presidential Inauguration yesterday. She will speak at the "sister march" in Trenton. Representative Watson Coleman spent last evening at an interfaith prayer service at the Shiloh Baptist Church.
In addition to marches in New York City and Philadelphia, more rallies will be held in New Jersey today including locations in Jersey City, Westfield, and Asbury Park.