Community Maplewood South Orange

PHOTOS: New SOMA Action Group Provides Organization for Local Activism

South Orange and Maplewood residents disturbed by recent national political actions aren’t just standing by and watching.

They’re organizing.

SOMA Action, a new grassroots group in South Orange, Maplewood and surrounding communities, held its first meeting on Sunday, January 29. Approximately 250 people packed the Hilton Branch of the Maplewood Library for a fast-paced, “action-oriented” gathering.

Michael Paris and Regan White, both of Maplewood, facilitated the meeting. Paris explained that SOMA Action arose out of two separate local groups that recently merged. He noted that the group was not affiliated with any political party or other political group and that all current members shared commitments to nonviolence, diversity, participatory democracy, and taking immediate political action.

White then spoke, telling those assembled that the turnout was both overwhelming and wonderful. She guided people into breakout groups to form separate committees, including Immigration Rights; Environmental Issues; Human Rights (racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, disability rights); Trump’s Financial Conflicts of Interest; State and Local Politics; Voting Rights; and Communications, Media, and Website. Committee facilitators jotted down ideas and strategies. All gathered then reassembled for reports from the separate groups.

The meeting ended with announcements about upcoming protests, and a rousing group sing-along led by Bennet Zurofsky. Organizers said that the separate committees will now take shape, plan activities, and communicate through the group’s website. SOMA Action’s next general meeting will be held the weekend of February 25. Check the group’s website over the next few weeks for details.

SOMA Action: www.SOMAaction.orghttp://www.SOMAaction.org.

This story is part of “In the Shadow of Liberty,” a year-long look at immigration in New Jersey sponsored by the Center for Cooperative Media, Montclair State University.
This story is part of “In the Shadow of Liberty,” a year-long look at immigration in New Jersey sponsored by the Center for Cooperative Media, Montclair State University.

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