(Originally shared on 12.01.17)
One year ago I went to my first NOW-NJ state board meeting as a brand new member trying to figure out how to start a new chapter here in Sussex County. Still reeling from the results of the 2016 election I arrived nervous about whether or not I could hold my own with much more experienced activists, but hopeful that if anyone could show me a way forward it would be them. It quickly became clear that I had no reason to be nervous, as I was greeted so warmly by an incredible team of inspiring leaders. As we sat together and discussed various pieces of legislation related to women’s rights, community service efforts, educational programs and more I found myself at one point struggling to hold back tears. I was just overwhelmed by the realization that I was getting a desperately needed window into exactly what our future needs to look like. Passionate, intelligent women and our allies gathered together, all with seats at the table, defining our future for ourselves.
In the year since, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to connect with even more passionate, intelligent women and allies right here in Sussex and Warren counties, and I am both proud of and humbled by what we have accomplished together. We have rallied and marched in support of women’s rights and reproductive healthcare, we have done our best to amplify local LGBTQ+ voices, we have spoken out against racial injustice and hatred of all kinds, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our neighbors while collecting donations for our local domestic abuse shelter, and we have created a space where many progressive folks in our area have come to feel much less alone.
Tomorrow I will have the honor of attending yet another NOW-NJ state board meeting, and I know that I will once again be overwhelmed with gratitude as we all take our seats at the table yet again. I am not at all nervous this time around, but I am even more hopeful than ever. I know that we will accomplish even more in the year ahead, and I hope that anyone reading this who wants their own seat at that table, or even just to feel less alone will consider joining us. We all have a unique and powerful voice, and even if you have never been involved in activism or community service before I know that you have gifts and ideas we would all be lucky to learn about as we help you to help others, and grow in ways you might not think possible.
On Tuesday, December 5th, we’re swapping out our regular monthly meeting with a fun, informal holiday celebration of the work we’ve done together over this past year and all of the work and growth yet to come. If you’ve ever been curious about what NOW is or who we are, please join us at the Louise Child’s Branch of the Sussex County Library in Stanhope at 6:30PM. We would love to meet you and we would be very grateful to hear your ideas! Full details are available in the events section here on our Facebook page. I hope we’ll see you there!
President of Sussex County NOW