New Jersey NOW
2020 State Conference

September 15 – October 3, 2020, Online

In 2020, New Jersey NOW celebrates 45 years of grassroots activism in the state. The 2020 New Jersey NOW Virtual State Conference was held on October 3, 2020 with webinars leading up to the conference that started on September 15, 2020. 

2020 Biennial State Conference Meeting

October 3, 2020 – 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

2020 State Conference business meeting consisted of Officer Elections and Adoption of Bylaws changes.

Program Meeting featured opening address by Senator Cory Booker and a keynote address by Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi. State Legislators – Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assembly Member Shavonda Sumter, and New Jersey Candidates for Congress – Amy Kennedy (NJ02) and Stephanie Schmid (NJ04) also addressed the audience. Members of New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation – Andy Kim (NJ03), Tom Malinowski (NJ07) and Mikie Sherrill (NJ11) sent special video messages. 


A series of webinars highlighting NOW’s core issues:

After a gap of 40 years, there is renewed momentum around the ERA. Nevada led the surge, Illinois stepped up and in January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. An inter-generational panel leading the fight to have gender equality enshrined in the U.S. constitution, discusses why we still need the ERA and where we go from here.

Lexi Abrams: Co-Lead, Generation Ratify NJ Chapter
Alice Cohan: Political Director, Feminist Majority
Jan Erickson: Director of Governmental Relations, National Organization for Women
Linda Weber (Moderator): Legislative Vice President, New Jersey NOW


When the Obama administration recognized that Sexual Assault infringed on Title IX protections, it brought sweeping changes to the handling of these cases on campuses. Under the current administration, many of those advances have been rolled back or weakened. Join us to hear from activists and others on the ground in New Jersey on what these changes could mean for survivors.

Jerin Arifa:
Formerly Undocumented Campus Activist, Founder, First Virtual Chapter of NOW
Emily Ralph: Former Title IX Administrator for Drew University
Penny Venetis: Clinical Professor of Law, Rutgers Law
Anjali Mehrotra (Moderator): President, New Jersey NOW

In a gender-binary world, those who don’t identify as male or female often have trouble fitting in. In a world that asks us to check a single box — male or female — what happens for those who don’t feel either answer is exactly right? Our panel examines what it’s like to navigate the intersection between gender, identity and sexuality especially as we wait for societal norms and structures to catch up.

Shannon Cuttle: Openly Non-Binary Trans Elected Official, South Orange/Maplewood BOE
Dr. Catherine Lugg: Professor of Education, Rutgers Graduate School of Education
Erin Worrell: Board Member, Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice
Danni Newbury (Moderator): Coordinator, Office of LGBTQ Affairs at Union County

Acute pollution sources placed in overburdened neighborhoods  have led to decades of pollution experienced by large parts of Newark, Camden, and many other Garden State communities. They pose health hazards to nearby residents further exasperating health disparities  for communities of color. Our panel of experts and activists will discuss the steps needed and the urgency for change.

Kim Gaddy: Environmental Justice Organizer, Clean Water Action
Melissa Miles: Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA)
Nicky Sheats: Director of Center for the Urban Environment, Thomas Edison State University
Senator Troy Singleton: Legislator, New Jersey Senate (LD-07)
Shree Mehrotra (Moderator): Environmental Justice Advocate, New Jersey NOW

Menstrual Equity is about affordability, accessibility and safety of menstrual products. It is also about education and reproductive care. Our panel of service providers and advocates discusses why it’s time to eliminate period poverty and poverty stigma that has prevented not only decision-makers, but also healthcare providers, educators and individuals from ensuring that menstrual health is a priority.

Elizabeth Coulter: Director of Public Health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey
Elise Joy: Founder, Girl Helping Girls Period
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf: Author, Periods Gone Public; Leading National Advocate for Menstrual Equity
Annabelle Jin (Moderator): NJ State Co-director,


The current pandemic has impacted women disproportionately across the globe. As states draw up recovery plans, some are asking the question – The current system is broken… Why not try something new? Our experts will discuss the merits of a gender responsive approach with investment in social infrastructure – childcare, education and health – rather than traditional infrastructure projects, in order to boost the economy.

Dr. Deborah Cornavaca: Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, New Jersey
Brandon McKoy: President, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP)
Dr. Yana Rodgers: Director, Center for Women and Work, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
Katie Brennan (Moderator): Treasurer, New Jersey NOW