Maplewood honored the role of women in civic life on Tuesday, March 6 — and promised more work to come to support women business owners, citizens and leaders — with a special proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month.
The proclamation was written by current Township Committeewoman and former Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams.
But Adams made it more powerful by sharing the spotlight and having each portion of the proclamation read by a different female community leader.
“Because we have such a wonderful turnout from these distinguished ladies up here with me, we don’t have enough ‘whereases’. Had I known we’d have such a great turnout, I would have written more!” said Adams.
Assemblywoman and Deputy Speaker Mila Jasey began the reading and thanked Adams, saying, “This is a wonderful idea and we’re kicking off Women’s History Month in a good way I think.”
Jasey was followed by former Maplewood Deputy Mayor Kathy Leventhal, former Maplewood Mayor Ellen Davenport (the first and thus far only woman to serve as Mayor of Maplewood), former (and first woman to serve as) Maplewood Township Committeewoman Connie Cosgrove, South Orange Village Trustee Karen Hartshorn Hilton, former South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education Maureen Jones, former Maplewood Township Committeewoman India Larrier, former South Orange Trustee Mary Theroux, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum (first woman to serve as Village President), and, finally, Nancy Adams herself.
Adams concluded reading the proclamation to thunderous applause with these words:
“WHEREAS, South Orange and Maplewood community leaders are working together to finally shine the spotlight on Women’s History Month with events and promotion of local women-owned businesses, and to celebrate women’s empowerment, and to focus on women in history who fought for our rights and whose lives changed the course of history. NOW THEREFORE, I Nancy Adams, and Mayor Victor DeLuca, on behalf of the Township Committee proclaim March 2018 as Women’s History Month in the Township Maplewood.”
Those present but not reading included former Board of Education member Andrea Wren-Hardin, former Board of Education President Beth Daugherty and South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race Director Nancy Gagnier.
Read the full proclamation below.
Afterward, Karen Hilton can be heard saying to Adams, “Thank you for doing this.” Sheena Collum adds, “That was great!”
Suitably, Jasey then read a proclamation from the State of New Jersey Legislature, signed by Jasey, Assemblyman John McKeon and Senator Richar Codey, honoring the work of former Township Committeewoman India Larrier.
Said Larrier, “All I can say is it’s a labor of love. I love this community … and hope to serve it for a long time.”
From the Maplewood Township Committeewoman Nancy Adams:
Below is the proclamation in recognition of Women’s History Month for the month of March, which was read at last night’s Maplewood Township Committee meeting by local women who have dutifully and honorably served the communities of Maplewood and South Orange.
In service to our towns, these strong and principled women have volunteered countless hours of their time over the years to shape our local and state governments, communities, downtowns, and schools by serving on the Maplewood Township Committee, South Orange Board of Trustees, South Orange & Maplewood Board of Education and in the State Legislature, and running the Community Coalition on Race, and local Special Improvement Districts.
The impact of the service of these women cannot be understated and is greatly appreciated. Behold the power of women who support themselves, their families, their friends, and each other.
The WHEREAS, for more than two centuries, our Nation has grown under the simple creed that each of us is created equal. It is a notion that makes America unlike any other place on earth, a Country where no matter where you come from or what you look like, you can go as far as your talents will take you; and
WHEREAS, Women’s History Month is a time to remember those who fought to make that freedom as real for our daughters as for our sons. Written out the promise of the franchise, they were women who reached up to close the gap between America and what it could be. They were driven by a faith that our Union could extend true equality to every citizen willing to claim it. Year after year, visionary women met and marched and mobilized to prove what should have been self–evident. They grew a meeting at Seneca Falls into a movement that touched every community and took on our highest institutions. And after decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, women have written equal opportunity into the law again and again, giving generations of girls a future worthy of their potential; and
WHEREAS, that legacy of the change is all around us. Women are more than half of our population, nearly half of our Nation’s workforce, and more than half of our college graduates. But even now, too many women feel the weight of discrimination on their shoulders. They face a pay gap at work, or higher premiums for health insurance, or inadequate options for family leave. These issues affect all of us, and failing to address them holds our country back; and
WHEREAS, medical research has for decades focused on men, ignoring women and particularly women of color. In fact, medical research in many areas including cardiovascular disease, which kills more women than men, often includes few women subjects or else doesn’t report results by gender. This disparity in research by gender has resulted in misdiagnoses and incorrect treatment of women.
WHEREAS, recent times have brought to light the sexual harassment and abuse imposed on women in the workforce for decades, holding them prisoners to power and limiting their ability to advance and thrive in their careers; and
WHEREAS, women and men are uniting through the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements to fight for women’s safety by creating an environment that allows more and more women to courageously speak their truths and come forward to call out their abusers; and
WHEREAS, millions of women and men across the world have turned out in protest of a President who has objectified women and set the stage for women opening up about their past experiences of sexual harassment; and
WHEREAS, women are still not fully or adequately represented at the top tables of organizations and corporations nor on local, state and national governing bodies, and are therefore not being heard or listened to; nor is a woman’s very important perspective properly represented when decisions and laws are being made; and
WHEREAS, women have been conditioned to be in competition with each other and now are dedicated to supporting each other in the workplace, relationships and at home; and
WHEREAS, our history shows that when we couple grit and ingenuity with our beliefs, there is no barrier we cannot overcome. We can stay true to our founding creed that in America, all things should be possible for all people. That spirit is what called our mothers and grandmothers to fight for a world where no wall or ceiling could keep their daughters from their dreams. Although we still have much to do and we need more women running for office to make our opportunities brighter, we recognize the accomplishments of women who fought for our rights in the past and pledge to them to keep advocating for equality; and
WHEREAS, Women’s History Month is also not adequately recognized each year, nor are the accomplishments of women in history adequately focused on in our schools during the month of March and otherwise; and
WHEREAS, South Orange and Maplewood community leaders are working together to finally shine the spotlight on Women’s History Month with events and promotion of local women-owned businesses, and to celebrate women’s empowerment, and to focus on women in history who fought for our rights and whose lives changed the course of history.
NOW THEREFORE, Mayor Victor DeLuca, does hereby proclaim March 2018 as Women’s History Month in the Township Maplewood. __________________________________________________
Elizabeth J. Fritzen, Township Clerk
Victor DeLuca, Mayor