By Jean Crichton
More than 85 members and friends of The Unitarian Church in Summit joined thousands from New Jersey Saturday at the Women’s March in Washington, DC, as well as in sister marches in New York City, Trenton, Asbury Park, Montclair and Westfield.
Three 50-seat buses left Summit at 5 a.m. Saturday, arriving in the capitol around 10 a.m. and returning to Summit at about 11 p.m. The bus trip was organized by the Unitarian congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey and New Jersey Citizen Action.
“It was my first protest,” said Elisabeth Coffey. “The thing that made me the most excited is that there were countless others for whom yesterday’s march was also their first. In one day, an army of activists was born. This is history in the making—a very big deal. My feet hurt so much, and I am tired, but I’m so proud to have been a part of it.
The marchers created a stream of pink and red as many wore pink so-called pussy hats to identify themselves. A group of crafters gathered at UCS in the weeks before the march to knit the gaily colored caps, which they shared with other demonstrators.
“It was a sea of happy faces and signs,” said Peggy Hannis who marched in Asbury Park and sang in a choral group before an estimated six thousand marchers. “It was very powerful to sing to that many people, and they enthusiastically sang along. It was a great and empowering day.”
The day after the marches, members of congregation brought their signs and hats to worship services.
“We formed an altar of resistance on Sunday, reminding ourselves that this march was part of a movement, which we cannot let become only a moment,” said Rev. Robin Tanner, minister of worship and outreach.
The march, on the day after the Inauguration, was not, strictly speaking, a protest against President Donald Trump. Rather, it was a mass appeal to protect Civil Rights, abortion rights, immigrants, progress made on behalf of LGBTQ people and health care that was expanded under the Affordable Care Act. Hundreds of thousands of women and men marched peacefully in Washington, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities across the nation and the world.
Members and friends are continuing the call for justice from the march in many ways, including showing up at Congressman Leonard Lance’s office in Westfield on Wednesday to show their support for the Affordable Care Act and to encourage the congressman to resist its repeal without replacement.