Women’s March on New Jersey


Olivia Carrara

On the morning of Saturday January 20, I woke up early and excited to participate in the Women’s March on NJ. Previously the NJ March was held in Trenton, but this year it took place in Morristown, New Jersey. Due to the fact that I was traveling with my mom, a woman notorious for being early, I arrived to the march two hours before it started. While I was annoyed at first that we would have to wait hours for the speakers to come out, I became grateful as I walked towards the town hall which served as the starting point of the march.

At 10:00, there were already about 4,000 people there, and every minute hundreds of pink hats kept flooding in. Due to our early arrival, my mom and I were able to gain a great standing spot in front of the town hall. I also got to admire all of the beautiful and hilarious signs that both women and men proudly held in the crowd. This year, the theme of the march was “Power to the Polls” and was focused on women being heard in politics and using their votes to change the world. The sponsors of the event included Black Lives Matter Morristown, BlueWaveNJ, the League of Women Voters of Morristown Area, Action Together NJ, and many other state organizations. The focus of the march was in no way negative and the focus was not on President Trump, but rather on women, their voice, and their rights. At 11:00, it became clear that the estimate of 5,000 people marching was quickly surpassed. The numerous speakers made their way to the front of the town hall and a hush quickly went over the crowd as we prepared to hear the empowering words of many women.

Among the many speakers was Elizabeth Meyer, who is the founder of last year’s march held in Trenton, Essma Bengabsia a student activist, New Jersey’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy, and many more strong women. Also, a call from Cory Booker and Robert Menendez was broadcasted live for the people of the march to hear. Each speaker presented their story, their hopes for the future, and their words to all women and men at the march and around the world fighting for important causes. Of all of the speakers, I personally found Essma Bengabsia, a current student at New York University, to be the most inspirational  due to her closeness in age to myself. Her words held so much power and  the crowd erupted with cheers at every call to action she made. There was nothing but love and support among the marchers and amazingly enough, the crowd was made of almost an even split of men and women. The march began after the first speakers and the crowd began to walk towards The Green. As the flood of men and women marched down the streets of Morristown, all of the people despite their gender, race, orientation, or age became a family fighting for what is needed in this world. Holding up handmade signs people were smiling because it became obvious that a change is coming if we all stand together.

Once we reached The Green, a number of more speakers came out to address the crowd. During these speeches, topics of immigration, sexual assault, and women’s rights were powerfully spoken about. First Lady Tammy publicly told her story of being sexually assaulted for the first time to remind women that they are supported if they want to break their own silence. Needless to say, the marchers were overwhelmed with emotions of love, hope, and support as we stood together and looked towards the future. The march ended up growing to a crowd of about 15,000 people which never would have been predicted by the organizers of the march. For me, the march was an amazing experience. Having not been able to attend the first march in Washington last year, I jumped at the opportunity to attend another Women’s march. Holding up my own homemade sign among 15,000 other people was an empowering experience that gave me an immense amount of hope for the future of this nation, and the future of women’s rights and representation. The march was seamlessly planned and each individual speaker brought their own important message to the crowd. I am so grateful that I attended the Women’s March on NJ and I hope to attend next year wherever it may be held.

olivia womens march
Courtesy of Olivia Carrara