The organizers insist Saturday’s Women’s March on Morristown is not about Donald Trump.
And police insist they will “strike a balance” between marchers’ convenience and enhanced security.
Pocketbooks and purses–initially banned–will be allowed after all. But they may be searched, said Morristown Police Chief Pete Demnitz.
Thousands are anticipated at what organizers are billing as a “peaceful and non-partisan march” celebrating achievements of New Jersey women in 2017 and mobilizing them “to bring their power to the polls this November.”
Although the 11 groups organizing the event expect an orderly rally, law enforcement is taking no chances. The shadow of Charlottesville and other deadly incidents now falls over all major gatherings.
“Given recent incidents around the country, enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen, are necessary to ensure a successful event and to deter those who may seek to be disruptive,” Demnitz said Thursday in a statement, emphasizing there is “no higher priority” for police than ensuring public safety on Saturday.
Prohibited items range from backpacks and coolers to sign poles, helmets, pets and water balloons.
Police are “dedicated to striking a balance between security and convenience,” said the Chief, adding that authorities “will have adequate personnel assigned in the interest of everyone’s safety.”
The march starts at 11 am at Morristown town hall, where Mayor Tim Dougherty will welcome marchers. It concludes at 1 pm on the historic Morristown Green.
Gov. Phil Murphy plans to introduce his wife Tammy. Other scheduled speakers include Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver; Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.); Liz Abzug, daughter of feminist leader Bella Abzug; and Elizabeth Meyer, founder of last year’s march in Trenton.
Some 280 women’s marches are scheduled around the globe this weekend, marking the anniversary of last year’s huge marches protesting the presidential inauguration.
Organizers of the Morristown march say participants will promote “civil rights for every human regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion, or creed,” according to a statement on Wednesday.
Although not formally affiliated with the national Woman’s March, the local march hews to a national platform endorsing Civil-, reproductive-, gay-, immigration- and disability rights; environmental justice; and an end to violence.
‘NOT ABOUT ONE MAN’
President Trump is not cited in the mission statement of the Morristown march.
“We want this to be an affirmative march FOR all women’s rights,” states the march website.
“While these issues are being threatened by the President, we do not want a negative connotation to the march. This march is not a protest; it is a rally in solidarity with marchers across our nation and world. It is about placing aside our differences, joining together, and raising our voices in strength and pride. It is about us — the women and their supporters who will gather on January 20, not about one man.”
Action Together New Jersey, one of the organizing groups, is led almost exclusively by women. They reported a membership spike after the presidential election, and again after last year’s march in Trenton. Members have won some municipal and county elections since then.
“We empower them, we support them, and we train them to be leaders,” Executive Director Uyen Khuong said in a statement.
Black Lives Matter Morristown is marching “because, in the words of Erica Garner, ‘If black lives mattered in America, those who routinely brutalize us wouldn’t be the ones paid, with our tax dollars, to keep us safe,’” said chapter President T’Anna Kimbrough.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey is another organizer.
“At Planned Parenthood we believe that access to health care should not depend on your income or your zip code,” said Christine Sadovy, legislative and political director, in a statement.
“For the past year, Planned Parenthood supporters have taken action to protect and expand access to lifesaving reproductive care. We will keep taking action in 2018 and beyond!”
NJ Transit is reviewing its ridership to the 2017 Trenton march “and assessing available resources to identify opportunities to accommodate customer demand” on Saturday, said spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.
The agency advises marchers to travel early, and to download the NJ Transit mobile app and buy train tickets in advance to avoid lines at ticket machines.
Train 6917 is scheduled to arrive in Morristown at 10:28 a.m.; NJ Transit suggests customers using trains 6913 and 6915, which arrive in Morristown at 8:28 a.m. and 9:28 a.m., respectively. See NJ Transit’s train schedule and trip planner.