TRENTON, NJ – On Saturday January 21, hundreds of women, their families, and their allies arrived in our state’s capital city to participate in the Women’s March on Trenton. The day’s events included 40 powerful speakers, musical guests, and a march to the steps of the State House. Marchers called on elected leaders to uphold civil and human rights.
“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. These individuals spoke on behalf of the diverse coalition of activists, communities, and partnering organizations represented at the march. 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 Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Luanne Peterpaul with Garden State Equality, professor Dr. Dalia Fahmy, Congressman Donald Norcross, immigration activist Diana Meija, and SEIU New Jersey State Council Executive Director Lizette Delgado-Polanco.
“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,” said Congressman Norcross. “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, New Jersey 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. 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.”