Hear them roar — Thousands of Jersey women march across state, D.C.
WASHINGTON — Thousands of people from New Jersey will be at Saturday's Women's March on Washington, either in the nation's capital or at one of six marches around the Garden State.
Many of them say they are participating in or organizing their first political demonstration in years — or for the first time ever.
About 200,000 are expected in Washington for the rally and march a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president. Organizers said participants want a greater voice for women in political life.
"In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore," the event's mission statement says.
Elizabeth Meyer, 39, of Branchburg, who organized the Trenton march, said she was excited as a "village" of volunteers prepared on Saturday morning for the nearly 4,000 people who were expected at the Patriots Theater inside the War Memorial. The number of people who have said they are coming on the event's social media sites increased during the week, according to Meyer, adding that arrangements were made for the overflow outside the memorial.
"We wanted to make sure they would be able to be a part of what's happening inside as well," Meyer said.
"I've never been an activist before and to be part of something like this is so exciting."
A march in Asbury Park was also organized by political novices. New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault spokesman Robert Baran said the organizers are "just four local residents from the Asbury Park area who wanted to do something local but something they could include their children and families and really focus on the women's rights aspect rather than the political event," Baran said.
About 3,000 were expected at the shore town for the event, but even more may have attended.
Hamilton resident Maria Prato made the trip from Mercer County to the nation's capital with her 13-year-old daughter Isabella Gaines, who said she heard classmates on Friday chanting "build a wall!" during lunch — only to hear louder and more "comforting" chants on Saturday in Washington.
"I took my daughter because I wanted her to see why America is great already even in the face of all the bigotry, hatred and mistruths the current administration has perpetuated," Prato said Saturday. "I went myself because I was feeling helpless and this in some small way was a source of strength."
Prato said the issues she cares about include women's rights and healthcare and the rights of LGBT citizens.
"Everyone here may have come with their own agenda in mind but i feel like we united because our concerns all had one common factor: Trump."
It was quiet on board Felicity's Crew's bus as it headed through Delaware on Route 95 towards Washington, one of nearly 300 buses from New Jersey.
"We're very energized. I had a hard time sleeping because I'm very excited and we're on the move," Crew said. She said there seemed to be a "parade of buses" heading to the event.
Raquel Guarino, of Marlboro, was already in Washington for the March. "I'm really excited and I think we're really going to have a strong impact," Guarino said, adding that it was going to be the largest post-inaugural rally in history.
Marches also took place around the world in London, Berlin, Barcelona and in Australia.
Women’s marches in New Jersey:
- Asbury Park: Biergarten, Boardwalk and Porta, 527 Lake Ave.
- Mount Laurel: Laurel Acres Park, 1045 South Church St.
- Pompton Plains: Municipal Parking lot in Pequannock, 530 Newark-Pompton Turnpike
- Trenton: Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive
- Westfield: in front of L&T, 609 W. North Avenue
- Wyckoff: Municipal Town Hall, 340 Franklin Ave
Sergio Bichao contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
The Associated Pres contributed to this report.
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