WESTFIELD, NJ — On Saturday, Jan. 21, residents from all over New Jersey gathered at the south side of the Westfield Train Station for a Women’s March. The march’s destination was the office of U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, located on North Avenue. The march was organized by Lydia Kaplan of Westfield.
“The Westfield Police did an amazing job controlling traffic. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” Kaplan said. “I chose Lance’s office for a symbolic destination. He concerns many because he doesn’t support the Affordable Care Act, and other issues that matter to us. Some protesters left their signs there to send him a message.”
Although this wasn’t supposed to be a protest, many residents deviated from the original intent of the march. Other concerns such as environmental issues, the demolishing of Obamacare and racial prejudice were all expressed by residents.
“I’m concerned about those who have been nominated for the EPA,” Joanne Pelle of South Plainfield told LocalSource in an interview. “They aren’t for climate control. They want to destroy Obama’s agreement on climate.”
The majority of residents did stay on the topic of women’s rights and human rights in general. People wore pink hats to show their support for women’s rights.
“A friend of mine made my hat,” Sharon Tarantino of Millstone told LocalSource in an interview. “She works at a knitting store, and I requested that she make me a hat. I came to Westfield for solidarity and to support women’s rights and other people’s rights. It makes me feel good to be with like-minded people.”
Families arrived at the march together to show their support. Many of them created their own individual signs to carry during the march.
“We’re here to support equality for everyone,” the Woodworth Family told LocalSource in an interview. “We love everybody!”
One resident was specifically at the march to support respect. He wishes to see respect for people and the environment.
“My family is concerned about respect for people and nature,” Joe Basralian of Chatham told LocalSource in an interview. “We want people to respect others as well as the planet. The two go together. That’s our angle.”
Other women were seen wearing pink visors in support of women’s rights. “We chose to make visors instead because I had them already,” Barbara Vogel of Point Pleasant told LocalSource in an interview. “We are here to support women’s rights. It’s not a protest; it’s support.”
Human rights in general was another issue which people supported at the march. Some residents felt that other minority groups were also in need of representation.
“I’m a citizen representing everyone for progress,” Julio Cage Martinez of Montclair told LocalSource in an interview. “I’m everything and everyone today. I’m a woman, Muslim, gay and Cuban.”