PATERSON, NJ- March comes in like a lion in celebration of Women’s History Month! As we commemorate this momentous occasion, it is my esteemed privilege to respectfully honor women throughout history who have made innumerable sacrifices, contributions, and triumphs! 

2021 marks one hundred and one years since the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave many—though not all—American women the right to vote in 1920. The transformative cultural and political movement known as women’s suffrage resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history. 

It is imperative that we do not forget the sacrifices of the many valiant souls who fought for female representation. Paterson is blessed to have three strong females sitting on our council dais, and this would not have been possible were it not for the tremendous political sacrifices of the women who blazed before us.

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We would be remiss if we did not pay homage to our predecessors in the everlasting fight for equality. Let us remember the women who looked beyond their own misgivings and advocated for the future of an entire gender— “Sheroes” like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an abolitionist who joined forces with Susan B. Anthony to form the National Woman Suffrage Association; and Lucy Stone, an anti-slavery activist who was one of the first women to sign the Petition for Universal Suffrage. 

 It is important that our daughters learn the names of Sarah J. Garnet, who founded the Equal Suffrage League and organized votes via the National Association of Colored Women; Ida B. Wells, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and one of the founders of the NAACP; and Mabel Lee who helped lead Chinese-American efforts in suffrage. Countless women boldly challenged adversity to give us a voice. 

Today we remember these “Sheroes” with pride as we look ahead to the new generation of women who are valiant, active, and prepared to empower their communities. This month we invoke the spirit of sisterhood and the poignant opportunity for gender equality. To all of my sisters, I welcome the opportunity to lock arms and pledge to be deliberate in our efforts to mentor, support, and uplift one another.

An ode to some fabulous She’s. The intent is to salute and pay homage to some of our current and past Paterson Women Figures. These women live, work, serve, or have roots tied to Paterson. I couldn’t possibly name all, but this is a start! If you can think of anyone else feel free to tag them. 

 I appreSHEate all of you and wish you a Happy Women’s History Month!

  1. She Suffragists: Elizabeth C. Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells

  2. She Vice President: Kamala Harris 

  3. She First Ladies: Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. She Supreme Judges: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Sandra Day O'Connor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett 

  5. She Surrogates (Passaic County): Bernice Toledo

  6. She Judges: Yolanda Adrianzen, Marybel Mercado Ramirez, Carol Newton, Dawn Blakely-Harper

  7. She Prosecutors (Passaic County): Camelia M. Valdes

  8. She Clerks (Passaic County/ Paterson): Danielle Ireland Imhof/ Sonia Gordon

  9. She US Senators: Alexandra Ocasio Cortes, Nancy Pelosi, Corey Bush, Nidia Velasquez, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Susan Collins

  10. She NJ Senators: Nellie Pou, Loretta Weinberg

  11. She NJ Assembly: Shavonda Sumter, Shanique Speight, Britnee Timberlake, Annette Quijano

  12. She Council of Paterson (Current/ Past): Ruby Cotton, Maritza Davila, Dr. Lilisa Mims/ Vera Ames, Maria Magda O’Keefe, Marilee Jackson, Yolanda Luna

  13. She Mayors of Paterson (Interim): Jane Williams Warren, Anna Lisa Dopirak

  14. She Council of PP/ Haledon (Current/ Past): Esther Perez, Felicia Ortiz, Nereyda Curiel, Aleksandra Tasic/ Tashina Ahmed-Saif

  15. She Commissioners for Paterson BOE (Current/ Past): Oshin Castillo, Nakima Redmon, Dania Martinez/ Wendy Guzman, Nilda Torres, Anna Maria Vancheri

  16. She Commissions for PP/ Haledon: Daysi C. Gonzalez, Dhariany Valerio, Bridget Arrick, Ashley Alba

  17. She County Commissioners (Current/Past): Sandi Lazzara/ Sonia Rosado, Laura Freytes

  18. She Law Enforcement/First Responders: Deloris Davidson Most, Velma DeLane Rucker, Lynettee Shaw, Sharon Easton, Serein Tamimi, Edelyn Ledesma, Maria Jalil, Ashley Sanchez, Kelly Powell, Johanna Ramirez

  19. She Lawyers: Susan Champion, Khalifah Shabazz-Charles, Farrah Irving, Natasha Robertson

  20. She Environmental Scientists: Jane Goodall and Greta Thunberg

  21. She Artists/Arts & Music (National/ Paterson): Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Khalo, Ruth Asawa, Billie Holiday, Celia Cruz, Gloria Esteban/ Talena Lachelle Queen, Ariel Lampley, Christine Conforti, Carolyn Brown, , Denise Womack, Anna Martinez, Liz Rodriguez

  22. She Political Strategists: Idida Rodriguez, Peggy Anastos, Lissette Delgado, Lilian Arrocho, Ritzy Morales Diaz, Carol Cuadrado, Barbara Tanis, Marqweesha Guthrie

  23. She Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community:  Gertrude Stein, Billie Jean King, and Paterson’s playwright Denise Womack 

  24. She World Leaders: Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Winnie Mandela, Angela Merkel, Elizabeth II, Jacinda Ardern

  25. She Marketing (National/Paterson): Melanie Deziel, Pamela Vaughan, Ann Handly, Purna Virji/ Farhanna Balgahoom Sayegh, Rebecca Carvalho, Anna Martinez

  26. She Civil Rights Leaders: Joanne Robinson, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Dolores Huertas, Betty Shabazz, Adela Coca

  27. She in Fashion: Coco Chanel, Diane Von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, and Stella   McCartney, Lourdes Atelier

  28. She Actresses: Lucille Ball, Shoreh Aghdashloo, Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, Lisa Bonet, Penelope Cruz, MJ Rodriguez, Queen Latifah, Zoe Saldana, Celines Toribio, Aishwarya Rai, Salma Hayek, America Ferreira, Mindy Sterling

  29. She Entrepreneurs and CEOs (National/ Paterson): Whitney Wolfe, Sheryl Sandberg/Cecil Dickey, Paula Alford, Shana Mandrage, Devra Karlebach, Luisa Nunez, Elis Gonnell, Petra Guzman, Karina Minauro, Denise Sanchez, Rosa Santana, Melanie Holmes, Asia Evans, Lawanda Sexton, Julissa Davila, Guerlina DeLaHoz, Marie Florio, Fenix Martinez, Shanikwa Lemon, Shavita Johnson, Lisa Adams, Rosa/Elsa Mantilla, Yiniana Nunez, Sonia Deliz, Nana Pena, Yolanda La Rosa, Awilda Diaz, S. Nadia Hussain

  30. She Finance/City Business (Paterson/County): Kathleen Long, Lydia Robles, Aracelly Calero, Maryanne Williams, Linda Broncano, Phllis Riley, Jacqueline Murray, Sophia Alexander, Sabrina Curry, Joan Douglas, Jennifer Hirschmanner, Audrey Cartright, Iverilyn Rodriguez, Irma Gorham, Hilda Perez, Karen J. Agosto, Anne Marie Morales

  31. She Literary Figures (National/Paterson): Anne Carson, Sharon Olds, Brenda Shaughnnessey, Audre Lorde, Ada Limon, Joy Harjo, Anne Frank, Elizabeth Acevedo, Zadie Smith, Anais Nin, Harper Lee, Marjane Satrapi, Julia Alvarez, Elizabeth Estella

  32. She Chefs (National/ Paterson): Julia Child, Sylvia Woods/ Deniz Vergara, Elvina Johnson, Kassandra Gutierrez

  33. She Medicine/Science (National/ Paterson): Elizabeth Blackwell, Virginia Apgar, Marie Curie, Barbara McClintok, Jane Silverstein, Nichol Chola Shabazz, Dr. Maria Jose Vasena, Dr. Rummana Aslam, Dr. Kazmouz Hasna, Dr. Hanan K. Tawadrous, Dr. Mercedes Lesesne

  34. She Supermodels/Models: Naomi, Bella Hadid, Helena Christensen, Annabelis Baez, Alek Wek, Giselle Peppers, Estella Joelie Valverde

  35. She Education: Sandra Montanez-Diodonet, Susana Peron, Anna DiMolly, Willa Mae Taylor, Sue Butterfield, Kat Esquiche, Nelly Hidalgo Celi, Mayra Raquel Amador, Sharon Smith, Brenda Belmont, Amber Lassiter, Tammy Rivera, Patty C. Quispe, Jessica Egger, Sergia Felix, Evelyn Pena, Taina Pou, Kyona Artis Best, Rosie Grant

  36. She Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Misty Copeland, Parris Goebel, Pina Bausch, Demani Van Rensalier 

  37. She Comediennes (National/ Paterson): Gilda Radner, Lucille Ball, Wanda Sykes, Tina Fey / Monique Scott

  38. She Activists: Coretta Scott King & Bernice King, Malala Youssef, Stacey Abrams

  39. She Community Leaders (Paterson): Charlotte Shepperson, Jean Silver, Valerie Freeman, Elsa Mantilla, Winnie Harrison, Della McCall-Fischer, Jeanette Bugg, Yohanny Mendez, Beth Marmolejos, Kelly Brown Moss, Darlene Morris, Cristina Tone, Lety Alvarez, Charisse Taylor, Jada Fulmore, Amber Huq, Wandy Lopez, Francis Harrison, Martha Arencibia, Victoria Hadasa Oquendo, Raquel Soto, Elsa Reyes, Mercedes Marcelino, Nancy Greir, Kim James, Jenn Brady,Tiffany Jacob, Kimmeshia Rogers-Jones, Tomacinia Carter, Ashley Claudio, Gemelly Caraballo, Inge Spungen, Rashona Elder, Dr. Liza Chowdhury 

  40. She Athletes (National/ Paterson): Naomi Osaka, Leila Ali, Venus Williams, Megan Rapinoe/ Jada Camacho

** She is the Future, and the Future is NOW! 

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