by Cassandra Ranieri Shober
Ocean City, N.J. − On Jan. 20, 2018, quiet, conservative Ocean City, N.J., marked the one year anniversary of the Women’s March by hosting more than 600 women, men and children of every race, color, nationality and personality who came to show solidarity with millions of their sisters and brothers around the country and the world.
Surrounded by messages of love, empowerment, equality, strength and occasionally snarky dissent from the current administration, the enthusiastic crowd cheered on the speakers.
Activist group South Jersey Connection to Action sponsored the event in Mark Soiffer Park. Alexi Velez of the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU spoke about human rights, and provided everyone with signs and pocket Constitutions. Impassioned speeches were given by former Cape May County Freeholder Candidate Danielle Davies, newly elected Atlantic County Freeholder at Large Caren Fitzpatrick, newly elected Northfield Councilwoman Susan Korngut and Congressional Candidate for the 2nd District Tanzie Youngblood, who along with newly elected Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
Throughout last year’s presidential election and what has transpired since, Danielle reminded us that inaction is not an option, and that the only way to effect change at the top was to get involved locally.
“We stand here on the anniversary of the women’s march of 2017 when millions of women and enlightened men gathered all over the world to show that we will not be torn down, we will not be torn apart, but we will connect and stand together and fight for our rights and the rights of others,” Danielle said, while also referring to the women’s movement of the 1970s. “And that while we have come so far, we still have so far to go.”
Susan Korngut reminded us of all the women who fought so we could run for office. Tanzie Youndblood closed the speeches with the iconic “Power to the People” chant.
Meanwhile, Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett spoke at the New York City sister march to a crowd of more than 200,000 stating, “This is not about vengeance; it is about time.”
Ashley made headlines in November 2017 when she ran against and defeated Republican John Carman. She was inspired to vie for Carman’s seat after he made a remark mocking the Women’s March on his Facebook page: “Will the women's protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?"
The Ocean City march spanned both sides of Asbury Avenue with attendees chanting, “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like!” Upon regrouping at the park for a moment of silence, one was reminded of those women who launched this movement: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm and Gloria Steinem. Women who fought for equality, marched and rose up.
Cassandra Ranieri Shober is a resident of the Jersey shore and a member of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change.
By Jennifer North
There’s been a ton of discussion about how many marginalized women of color feel within a primarily white feminist movement of activists. Scores of books, articles and blog posts address the reasons for this, so I won’t here.
As I prepare to join the march in Philadelphia this Saturday, proudly standing under our banner with a diverse group of SJWPC members, I have three tips that have come from my year of heavy organizing. If you are or are becoming a racial justice ally (and I hope you will), these tips are important…but, they may strike an emotional cord.
Tip One: Own Your Pussy Hat
Before you decide how you will keep your head warm on 1/20, educate yourself about how marginalized women feel about the pussy hat. If you share SJWPC’s interest in helping women of color and people who are non-binary to feel welcome under our tent, we hope you’ll consider leaving the pussy hat home. If you choose to wear one, don’t justify its use for the movement or tell someone who points it out that they are being divisive. A better reaction might be to explain why the pussy hat is a powerful symbol for you, why you personally choose to wear it and simply apologize if you are contributing to others discomfort.
Tip Two: Center Marginalized Women
If you have the opportunity to be on camera or to speak to the media, offer that opportunity to someone marginalized. If you are someone who often has the microphone, this would be the day to relinquish it. If you are someone who rarely has the microphone, we hope that we can amplify your voice and that you will feel safe speaking up.
Tip Three: Interacting with the Police
There will be a large police presence at the march. Philadelphia police are known for their history of police brutality, especially against activists. Philadelphia police still utilize stop and frisk. Our platform stands against mass incarceration and the racial inequity of the criminal justice system. We want our members to be and to feel safe and hope that you will avoid confrontation with the police during this march. We also hope that our members who are not racial justice advocates will refrain from offering hugs to police officers. Yes, some are good people, but that’s not the point.
It’s not easy fighting for racial justice on a daily basis, and it’s also not easy working with people who have different backgrounds and communication styles. But the work is critically important. Join me under the South Jersey Women banner.
By Alissa Wolf
Millions of women (and men) across the U.S. and the world are eagerly gearing up for the second annual Women's March, taking place on Saturday, January 20.
The 2017 first march was a rousing success. Approximately 576 marches were held in the U.S. and 81 other countries, drawing an estimated five million participants worldwide. These were entirely peaceful events, with no reported violence or arrests. (A friend and I attended a sister march in Trenton, N.J., which was highly well-organized, and inspirational.)
This year's events will once again take place across the U.S. and the world, with more than 250 marches, rallies and other related gatherings planned for an expanded Weekend of Women. Members of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change plan to March in Philadelphia.
We also have a full schedule of additional Power Weekend events planned throughout the weekend. Plus, there will be other marches and rallies held in various parts of the state, which you can learn about here.
Below are some important tips for making this year's event another huge success.
First, Determine Why We March
Despite the name, the purpose of the marches is not just to focus attention on women's causes, such as reproductive rights. The official platform also supports immigration reform; healthcare reform; LGBTQ rights; workers' rights; an end to religious discrimination, gender and racial inequities; and other issues. SJWPC has created a comprehensive core platform that you may refer to.
Hand-held signs and posters are a powerful way to convey what we stand for, and a great way to get creative. SJWPC held a couple of sign-making parties where we provided each other with inspiration, and had lots of fun.
Yours can be serious, witty or humorous. The sign I created for last year's march, pictured at right, was wildly popular and generated a lot of guffaws. You can purchase materials at the dollar store. Just be sure that your sign doesn't convey any offensive messages.
Determine How You Will Get There
If you live near a large metropolis, you probably have access to public transportation. So determine the best schedule and route. If possible, you may want to purchase a ticket in advance. A group of SJWPC members plan to travel by PATCO, a high-speed rail line that travels from South Jersey to Philadelphia.
If you don't have access to public transportation, it would be a good idea to organize a carpool, and determine where to park in advance.
Get Hydrated and Nourished
In order to be physically fortified for this long day, be sure to eat a healthy, hearty meal beforehand. And drink lots of water before the event. You may want to refrain from quaffing a lot of H2O during the march, to avoid excessive, inconvenient restroom runs. You may also consider bringing some light snacks, such as a power bar, nuts and/or dried fruit, to keep your energy high.
Depending on where you live, the day could be very cold. So it's best to dress in warm layers with gloves, a scarf, hat and warm, comfortable shoes.
Rather than carrying a large, bulky handbag or other accessory that could weigh you down, consider bringing a small amount of necessities that could fit securely in your pockets, or a small wristlet. Bear in mind that there will be heightened security, and bags may be subject to search by police. So the less you bring the better.
Be sure to have some cash (not too much), an up-to-date form of ID such as a driver's license, emergency contact info, and your cellphone. And make sure that your phone is fully charged.
Let Someone Know Your Whereabouts
Although the events are expected to be peaceful and safe, it's a good idea to let someone who is not attending know where you will be, and when. So just in case of emergency, let a close, trusted relative or friend know of your whereabouts, and check in with them at the end of the day.
Support the Cause, Year-Round
While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and inspirational spirit of the day, it's also all too easy to slip into inaction afterward, due to the demands of everyday life. So do try to stay engaged in whatever small way possible throughout the year.
It could be something as small as donating to a cause that is dear to your heart, making phone calls or sending emails to lawmakers in regard to legislation that concerns you or attending the occasional city council meeting.
Remember, there is strength in numbers, and significant change begins at the grassroots level.
We at SJWPC look forward to marching along with you!
(For more details about Philly march routes, public transportation availability, restricted items and other pertinent details, please refer to this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Women's March Philadelphia.)
There are currently more than 200 children incarcerated in New Jersey's three juvenile prisons, but that will soon change with the closing of Hayes and Jamesburg and the building of two new facilities, one of which will be located in Camden County.
SJWPC's Racial Justice Action Group is working with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice to ensure that the new facilities will use a "restorative justice" model, which provides appropriate treatment rather than a focus on punitive measures that have been shown to be ineffective.
The Action Group supports the NJISJ's 150 Years is Enough Campaign.
Of the more than 200 children who are incarcerated in New Jersey, only 7 are white even though white children have been shown to commit crimes at the same rates as children of color. The Action Group is organizing a steering committee that will organize calls to action in all 8 counties of Southern New Jersey.