Last weekend, I was proud to join in the 2018 New Jersey Women’s March in Morristown – an inspiring follow up to the 2017 Women’s March centered in Washington DC, and with marches across the country and globe. Carrying my “YWCA Stands for Women” sign, and accompanied by women and men from YWCA Union County and Bergen County, I felt part of a movement – not just a single voice – speaking out against the injustice that surrounds us every day. Standing and marching with a vast and diverse group of people of all races, ethnicities, ages, genders, all representing the causes we stand for – an end to racism, violence, and misogyny, support for immigrants and the Dreamers, protecting the environment, ensuring reproductive choice, women’s empowerment and more – how could I not feel proud?
Many years ago, as a young adult during the years of the Vietnam War, I wrote to my family “If I don’t speak out for what I believe, how can I live with myself?” That era was the start of my commitment to social justice – through my work, through community activities, and so many Rallies, Walks and Marches to support the cause of social justice.
As I read and listen to the news, it is easy to feel disheartened about our leaders’ abandonment of the ideals we aspire to – a country that welcomes others, provides a safety net to those in need, and believes in respect, human dignity and equal rights for all. But when I stand in solidarity with others as I did at the Women’s March, I experience hope that – one issue at a time, one day at a time – committed people across this great nation will bring us back to those ideals of racial and social justice.
Janice C. Lilien, CEO
YWCA Union CountyBack