From SOMA Action:
On Saturday, June 3rd, SOMA Action (a local Indivisible group), NJ Working Families Alliance, Action Together NJ, and We the People NJ-07, along with dozens of activists groups around the state gathered together to join the national March For Truth to demand answers as to whether the White House engaged in a cover-up and obstruction of justice by colluding with Russia in the recent 2016 Presidential election.
“When Trump fired Comey, we knew it was an emergency that required all of us to act.” said Amy Higer, SOMA action organizer, which sponsored the March for Truth. “We knew that this is the way authoritarianism begins. We are marching for truth today because we know that democracies die behind closed doors. We are marching today to make sure the door stays open.”
In May, activist organizations initiated a series of protest actions dubbed the “Summer of Resistance” in and around Bedminster, near the Trump National Golf Course, to highlight their demands into the Trump administration’s collusion with Russian officials. The actions included a “We Persis to Resist” People’s Motorcade passing along the golf course and overpass rallies to demand a deeper look into Russian ties to the Trump administration.
“We’ve persisted in our calls for a true investigation because of our deep commitment to democracy, our founding principles and nation,” said Analilia Mejia, Director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance which co-sponsored the March as well as the weekly People’s Motorcades and monthly Country Before Party Actions in front of Congressional offices. “Our aim is to highlight the level of impropriety revealed in drips and cut through the noise to reach regular voters and Americans in order to keep all vigilant in their defense of true democracy and patriotism.”
Jim Girvan, Branchburg resident and organizer of We the People NJ-07 which also co sponsored the March as well as the People’s Motorcade, said, “The Trump administration is trying to turn facts into fiction, real into fake and truth into lies. We cannot just sit back and let this happen. Our lives, our children’s lives, and the life of our democracy hang in the balance. We must Persist to Resist.”
Speakers included notable activists from across the state and issue spectrum. All shared a common concern in respect to our democracy and the apparent threat it faces.
“Trump is making a mockery of our Democracy. He is turning his back on history, severing and escalating international relationships, and risking national security by sharing classified information. We cannot sit idly by as the man in our nation’s highest office, whose campaign in under investigation for collusion with Russia, disregards his obligations to the American people. We demand transparency. We deserve the truth. He serves us and we will raise our voices to remind him of that,” said Elizabeth Meyer, Founder of the Women’s March in New Jersey and a resident of CD 7.
“Americans deserve a full throated and non political investigation into whether or not the Trump family conspired with Russia to hack our election,” said Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Director of Communications Workers of America and head of the organization NJ Resistance. “Closing a bridge and giving out Hurricane Sandy money for endorsements pales in comparison. Democracy itself is at stake.”
Speakers and participants of the event represented every Congressional district across the state, including the five represented by Republican members.
“We expect our Representative to be transparent, accessible, and responsive – and we will speak up whenever these values are ignored,” said activist and CD 11 constituent Saily Avelenda, whom Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen notoriously went after because of her outspoken and effective activism. “Our members have discovered their own constituent power by speaking out – via weekly calls, faxes, visits, educational events and community actions and will continue to demand we uphold our protect our democracy and constitution at any cost.”
Angela Bardoe a lifelong resident of South Jersey CD 2 and lead organizer for Action Together shared, “For many, the current administration has moved us to engage in political activism we never imagined. As chair of Action Together for Salem and Cumberland Counties I see the tireless work many regular voters now undertake in order to engage our Congressman, host town halls, engage in rallies and marches and attend municipal and county meetings. This is a burgeoning movement and elected officials should take notice.”
“Many voters have awakened to their power and are resolved to ensure our interests are paramount for this administration and our elected Representatives” said Margaret Illes, founder of NJ 7 Forward, which has engaged in activism from townhalls to vigils since the November election. “We will continue to educate and mobilize across our district and in fact the state.”
The days activities began with the People Motorcade in front of Trump National Golf Course, future site of the Women’s PGA Open. It continued with a March for Truth and culminated in speeches and calls to action by activist and leaders from every congressional district in the state.
Photos courtesy of Matt Peyton, Vic DeLuca and Kelly Heinze.