WELCOME to the January Pressure Cooker edition of NOW New Jersey’s monthly FEMINIST FRIDAY Newsletter!

It’s been less than two weeks since we all watched the first Latina United States Supreme Court Justice swear in the first woman, first Black, first South Asian, to become Vice President of the United States. Why does this matter? Because “…(T)here is something profoundly moving about the fact that Kamala Harris has walked through the world as a woman. That she has thought, talked, purchased, exercised, sought medical care, sought justice, laughed and bitten her tongue as a woman.” In many ways the world seems like it has changed overnight, but at the same time nothing has changed.

Nevertheless, there are constant reminders why our work is needed and how there are still challenges to overcome. In New Jersey, this week we learned once again about the abuse and assaults that continue to plague inmates at Edna Mahan, the state’s only correctional facility for women.

And once again, we are finding that Democrats who claim to be pro-choice cannot bring themselves to even say the word ‘abortion.’ Or bring it up for a committee hearing. Or vote for it. WE NEED YOU to take action! We have several ways you can help – we need emails and calls to the leadership in the Legislature to advance the Reproductive Freedom Act NOW!

Take Action NOW


NJ Board of Medical Examiners votes to repeal abortion restrictionsThe State BME has proposed new rules that would allow advance practice nurses, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and certified midwives to perform surgical or suction abortions. Repealing these old rules would lift “barriers to abortion care that are unrelated to safety” and “ensure abortions are regulated like other office-based surgical and special procedures.” The rule-making process requires the state to advertise a 60-day comment period, during which opponents and supporters can submit written statements. If you would like to express your support, send in your comment here before March 5.

Tammy Murphy announces Nurture NJ Strategic Plan — Nurture NJ is a state-wide initiative launched by First Lady Tammy Murphy in early 2019. The initiative ensures a commitment to equity in maternal and infant health outcomes for Black and brown women and to reducing overall maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in New Jersey. To read the full strategic plan, visit https://nurturenj.nj.gov/.


NOW-NJ POWER LIST — Do you know of a New Jersey feminist making big moves? NOW New Jersey will commemorate Women’s History Month in March by publishing a New Jersey Women/Feminist Power list! Nominations are now open – fill out our form here to nominate a feminist (or feminists!) that you believe deserve recognition. Though the list will primarily comprise of women, do not hesitate to nominate men that are working hard to further a feminist agenda. We are looking for individuals that have made statewide (or even national!) impact or have had a tremendous impact in their local community. We will also be offering the opportunity to sponsor a page in the book in support of your favorite changemaker. More info to come soon!

28th AMENDMENT ERA PETITION — With the Equal Rights Amendment successfully ratified by 38 states, it is past time that the ERA be added to the Constitution. Arlain Rockey writes, “The Fastest Way to attain Equal Rights for Women is for President Biden to Just Tell the Archivist to Publish the ERA in the Constitution as the 28th Amendment.” Sign the petition now and join the movement to #PublishERA. To learn how you can get more involved, follow @NOW28th on Facebook.


NOW-NJ will go to Trenton — NOW New Jersey President, Anjali Mehrotra, announces her bid for State Assembly in Legislative District 21. Citing a need for courage and equity, Mehrotra said she is running because this moment “calls for leaders who have the conviction to stand up for the truth and deliver results for their constituents. Leaders who are willing to look beyond partisanship, to put country, people and humanity first.”

Stand and be Counted — NOW-NJ President Anjali Mehrotra and Westfield 20/20 Co-Founder Marci Bandelli called out New Jersey’s Republican leaders for not joining Democrat leaders in their resolution condemning former President Trump’s incitement of riots at the Capitol. Only two Republican senators signed onto the resolution, positioning Republican leaders on the wrong side of history.

#SOTS2021NJ a repeat of #SOTS2020 Calls to codify Roe — It has been one year since Governor Murphy declared in his 2020 State of the State address that New Jersey must protect the ”fundamental and constitutional right to full reproductive freedom.” To achieve this goal, the Reproductive Freedom Act was introduced in October but the bill still has yet to be heard in committee. Thrive NJ calls on New Jersey lawmakers to pass the Reproductive Freedom Act expediently. We urge all our members to take action now!

Women for women – NOW NJ PAC stands with Huttle For fifteen years, Assembly Member Huttle has advocated for reproductive rights and justice, economic justice, and ending violence against women—all part of NOW’s core mission. Backroom deals in Bergen County may give Senator Loretta Weinberg’s Senate seat to a man thereby reducing the already low number held by women. NOW-NJ PAC Endorses Assembly Member Valerie Vainieri Huttle for State Senate and calls upon the Bergen County Democratic Committee to do the same.

I’M SPEAKING — Recent events as highlighted in Tiffany Kazsuba’s Facebook post have revealed a disturbing pattern of women being silenced when their story is politically inconvenient. The politicization of the #MeToo movement remains a significant problem in New Jersey and elsewhere. NOW New Jersey called upon our elected officials, fellow advocates and media to join us in condemning any organization that seeks to silence women.


Fulfilling a Promise: A Cabinet that ‘Looks Like America’ —  New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Announce Co-Chairs of the White House Gender Policy Council — Glamour

Marshall Plan for Moms by Reshma Saujani — The Hill

The US economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. All of them were held by women. — CNN

Biden reverses Trump ban on transgender people in military Associated Press


Is Bridgerton the Hamilton of Netflix? The show departs from the homogeneous casting of most period drama, imagining a 19th-century Britain with Black royalty and aristocrats. The show’s casting diversity is its most immediately striking quality, not just in Black aristocratic characters like the duke and Lady Danbury, but also in the entrepreneurial Madame Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale) and the working-class couple Will and Alice Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe and Emma Naomi). All of them are central to the complicated social caste system that make up the show’s version of early 1800s London.

After more than 15 years of proving that the diverse, female-fronted storytelling on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal could translate to monster ratings for ABC, Shondaland has brought its magic to Netflix. According to new data released by the streamer Wednesday, the steamy, romantic, holiday sensation Bridgerton has smashed all viewing records to become what the streamer itself is calling “the biggest series ever on Netflix.”


Saily Avelenda, Administrative Vice President

What made you join NOW? I joined NOW because I wanted to be in a space solely devoted to women’s issues. In all of the spaces I’m usually in, women’s issues are part of what we do, but not the primary focus. And as a result, at times, women’s issues are a negotiated element, or a secondary one. Joining NOW lets me be part of something where women are the first priority, not one priority among many.

What feminist issue would you like to see addressed that is not getting enough attention? The intersectionality of feminism is something I feel strongly about. Feminism isn’t one thing that fits one mold and works for all women the same way. Feminism has to embrace race, ethnicity, socio-economic, and immigration differences. There is no true feminism without understanding the role that white women play in our patriarchal systems, and without acknowledging that as between women, Black and brown women have vastly different experiences. So what I would like to see is more discussion about intersectionality, and more voices from the Black and brown community. I would like to see more introspection among white women. I do not think this is getting enough attention.

What’s your new quarantine hobby? I was extremely busy during quarantine with election work so I did not pick up any new hobbies, although I enjoyed watching everyone posting their sourdough starters, their knitting projects, etc. That said, I have always been a voracious reader and occasional writer, so any spare time I have had in quarantine has been devoted to reading a good book or a writing session. It’s part therapy and part distraction. Netflix binging is a real thing, I can assure you. I’ve binged the entire library of the Great British Baking Show (twice), as well as The Crown, Bridgerton (no judgement!), Lupin, Pretend It’s A City, Carmen Sandiego, The Undoing, etc. I also go down rabbit holes, so after watching The Crown, I spent a lot of time reading books and articles about British History. After Bridgerton, I read the first two books of the author’s series. After Lupin, I ordered the Arsene Lupin books series which is now on my TBR (“to be read” list). I not only ordered Fran Leibowitz’s books after Pretend It’s a City, I also re-read some other essayists, like Joan Didion, etc., because I am fascinated with the form. I guess what I am saying is – I read a lot, I don’t bake, and I’m terrible with crafts.

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New Jersey NOW
Our purpose is to act through intersectional, anti-racist grassroots activism to promote
feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect
the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

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