Past President 2006-2010

Maretta Short


Maretta J. Short is the first elected African American President of the National Organization for Women.  She is a community activist, organizer, and a founder and the President of Women of Color and Allies (WOCA), the Essex County Chapter.  As a single parent, Maretta returned to college and received an Associate Degree from County College of Morris and a Bachelor’s of Communications Arts Degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey.  While attending college Maretta became the student coordinator for the Rainbow Coalition’s Jesse Jackson for United States President, and she was ultimately nominated and ran as delegate for his slate.  She has since coordinated a state conference for NOW-NJ entitled “The Many Faces of Racism” with workshops addressing Racial Profiling and Police Brutality, Alternative Healthcare, Welfare to Work and Child Support, Living with Aids, and Violence Against Women.  Maretta has also organized fundraising events such as Poetry Cafés and Gospel Shows.

Ms. Short has co-hosted “Essex County NOW,” a Newark Cablevision Program and her bi-weekly column “The Way It Is” has been published in the East Orange Record and in the commentary section of The Star-Ledger.  She appeared on the nationally syndicated television program, “The Geraldo Show” as a panelist addressing important issues concerning women and race.  She is also a frequent guest host on “Joy of Resistance” multi-cultural feminist radio program on WBAI independent radio.

Maretta has facilitated workshops regarding race, class, and gender during teach-ins at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Rutgers University, Newark Campus. She is a regular guest speaker in Women’s Studies courses on the subject of “Reproductive Rights and How it Relates to Women of Color and All Women” at Hudson Community College.  She has advocated for the poor, senior citizens and disabled.  In collaboration with Essex County College Wise Women’s Center, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) she organized an informative speak out for welfare recipients.  Maretta has worked as the Office Manager in the NOW-NJ office in Trenton.  She is also the co-chair for the Combating Racism Task Force for NOW-NJ.

Her Motto is: “You can give out but don’t give up.”