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.