WESTFIELD, NJ — People of every age, gender and ethnic background from around New Jersey gathered in Westfield Saturday for a “sister” march of the Women’s March on Washington.
Organizer Lydia Kaplan estimated that thousands of people participated.
“It was over and above my expectations,” said Kaplan, who earlier in the week had expected 100 to 200 marchers.
According to organizers of the March on Washington, the marches around the world Saturday were meant “to send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women's rights are human rights.”
But other issues were represented, as well.
“What’s so impressive — look around. There are so many signs,” Jean Ward, a Westfield resident, said. “Gun control signs, education, women’s issues. It’s an impressive crowd."
Westfield mom Ginger Berman was at the march with her husband, 4-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter. Berman had a list of issues that brought her there.
“To support policies for women’s rights, human rights, LGBTQ, climate change,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of a community that has such engagement.”
Lauren O’Brien of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in Union County told the crowd, “This Women’s March sets standards for all human rights — including a specific mission to end violence, and especially violence against women.”
Following Westfield police, the crowd walked along North Avenue through Downtown Westfield to Congressman Leonard Lance’s office at 425 North Ave. East.
Kaplan thanked the police for their work Saturday.
“If it weren't for the Westfield police, it wouldn't have been possible,” she said.
Westfield’s march was one of six in New Jersey. Others took place in Asbury Park, Mount Laurel, Pompton Plains, Trenton and Wyckoff.
According to the Women’s March on Washington, 673 marches took place worldwide and more than 2.5 million people RSVPed to participate.