January 25, 2017

Council Members In Saturday’s Marches From Trenton to L.A.

Among the millions taking part in the women’s marches Saturday, January 21 in several corners of the globe were members of Princeton’s governing body.

Council members Lance Liverman, Heather Howard, and Tim Quinn joined marchers in Trenton. Jo Butler was in Los Angeles and participated in that city’s event. While Mayor Liz Lempert was under the weather and could not attend, and Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller was not able to take part, both professed to be with the marchers in spirit. Bernie Miller did not take part, but his wife rode one of the two buses from Princeton to Washington to march there.

The Trenton event began with speakers and musical guests inside Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial, continuing with a march to the nearby State House. Speakers included Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congressman Donald Norcross, Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt, Elizabeth Muoio, and Shavonda Sumter, civil rights advocate Edith Savage-Jennings, and many more including representatives of Planned Parenthood and Garden State Equality.

Mr. Liverman said he was asked by people why he was taking part in the Trenton march, which is estimated to have attracted upwards of 6,000. “The answer is simple,” he wrote in an email. “With the administration in place at the Federal level, it is a matter of time before women’s services are reduced. I am talking about Planned Parenthood and general assistance (welfare, children’s feeding programs, and health benefits). I wanted everyone to know I am in full support of helping the least among us survive.”

And speaking of children, Ms. Howard was impressed by the number of them present at the Trenton march. “What was particularly exciting was how intergenerational it was — how many kids where there,” she said. “It was an incredible crowd, really diverse, and exceeding all expectations. The mood was optimistic. People had a positive perspective of how they’re going to stay engaged and continue to advance a progressive agenda. There were so many handmade signs. It was really inspiring.”

In Los Angeles on business, Ms. Butler said the city might have had the largest crowd of any march held in this country. That meant “there wasn’t much actual marching,” she wrote in an email. “Aerial photos show the entire parade route engulfed with people. It was an energizing experience to be among so many like-minded, committed, and determined women and men. I was impressed with the cultural diversity of the crowd and touched that women of all ages were out in unity in a way that they haven’t been galvanized in years. The president isn’t the only person who can use social media to speak directly to the people. The organizers of this march now have the most valuable listserv in the country.”

Mr. Quinn was impressed with the “energy, unity, and sense of purpose among a very diverse group of marchers” in Trenton. “It seemed that every time I turned around,” he wrote in an email, “I’d see someone else from Princeton who would introduce me to someone new. What I hope doesn’t get lost in the coverage of the sheer size of the marches is how kind, patient, and cooperative everyone was. In stark contrast to our fractious national debate, everyone at the Trenton march was exceedingly polite and supportive. It was a special event.”

Ms. Lempert said she was inspired to see photos of crowds in Trenton, Washington, and across the world. “People are energized and ready to engage,” she wrote. “Gloria Steinem said it well: ‘This is the upside of the downside.’”