About NOW New Jersey
Incorporated in 1975, National Organization for Women of New Jersey is a state-wide grassroots women’s rights activist organization consisting of thousands of members, activists, and allies. NOW New Jersey has eight local chapters throughout the state, each autonomous and self-governed, on campuses and in the local community.
The purpose of NOW New Jersey is to take action 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.
NOW New Jersey is the largest feminist organization in the state. Our membership, voting biennially at the state conference, is the supreme governing body of the organization. Members may belong to local chapters and issue-oriented task forces, which lend the organization its broad grassroots strength. Every level of leadership is elected, and the State Board consists of eight elected members of the Executive Committee plus representatives from the chapters and task forces. We take pride that the very same people putting up the posters and engaging in local activism, serve on the State Board.
NOW New Jersey has two affiliated organizations, NOW-NJ Foundation and NOW-NJ Political Action Committee, two separately-funded self-governed organizations. The NOW-NJ Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and the NOW-NJ PAC is a political action committee formed under NJ-ELEC rules that endorses candidates in state level political campaigns and elections.
NOW New Jersey serves as a training ground for women’s leadership by recruiting and training young women on campuses and high schools to develop their own independent voice and self-determination. We engage and encourage mothers and women from under-represented communities to become active in the legislative process for policies that effect them and their families, such as reproductive health, paid family leave, child care, and public education.
What We Strive To Do
- Eliminate gender-based discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society.
- Secure access to abortion and birth control, reproductive rights and justice for all.
- End all forms of violence against women.
- Eradicate racism, sexism, and homophobia.
- Promote peace, equity and justice in our society.
How We Do It
- Organize mass actions such as marches, rallies, pickets, counter-demostrations, non-violent civil disobedience.
- Intensive lobbying and grassroots political organizing.
- Increase awareness and train new activists via task forces,
conferences, and organizing workshops
Through her experiences, Anjali Mehrotra strongly identifies as a feminist. She serves on the National Racial Justice Task Force for NOW, advocating for women of all ethnic backgrounds. Anjali worked on campaigns for Democratic Women candidates for President, Congress and State Assembly before running for office herself in 2018. She is elected Municipal Chair for the Mountainside Democratic Committee and Union County Director for the South Asian American Caucus of the NJDSC. Anjali earned her certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and serves on the Union County Advisory Board on the Status of Minorities.
Administrative Vice President
Saily Avelenda currently serves as Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. In this role, she launched a comprehensive workplace culture program to ensure that all employees and volunteers feel valued, empowered, and supported. She strives towards a system that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive at all levels. Saily remains, and will always be a fierce proponent of women’s rights. In 2018, Saily assumed the role of Executive Director for NJ 11th for Change, a grassroots group that was instrumental in flipping NJ’s 11th Congressional District. Prior to that she practiced law for almost 20 years in the private sector.
Action Vice President
For nearly two decades, Danni Newbury has been an active civic leader, serving in various roles including as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, on the Union County Human Relations Commission, and Chair of the Union County LGBTQ Democratic Caucus. In 2018, she led the development and administration of the first county government LGBTQ office in New Jersey. Danni has been recognized by USA Today and The Advocate magazine for my leadership in efforts to advance the civil rights and equality of the LGBTQ community in New Jersey. Since October 2019, Danni has served as Rahway’s Fifth Ward Councilperson.
Communications Vice President
Isha Mehrotra has always considered herself a feminist. At the University of Chicago, she was involved in multiple efforts to increase gender parity in tech and support women on campus. She joined NOW in 2017 when the Union County chapter was reinstated. After graduating last year with a degree in Computer Science, Isha began working at Google NYC and has have been able to increase my involvement in NOW working on different initiatives. She looks forward to engaging with NOW’s issues on a larger scale through legislation. Pay equity, workplace harassment, racial equity, and inclusion for all people are issues that she and her generation cares deeply about.
Legislative Vice President
Linda Weber has spent thirty years in the fields of financial services and technology and is currently Senior Vice President at IDB Bank NY. She was previously a member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society as VP for Board & Volunteer Development, and chair of the Division-leading Relay For Life event for five years, raising millions of dollars. For her service, she received the American Cancer Society St. George Award, one of the highest honors given by the Society. Linda ran for the US House of Representatives, NJ CD-7, in the 2018 election cycle, and for local council in 2010.
Membership Vice President
In 2016, Joseph Shelley uprooted his life and drove from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Orlando, Florida to work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was a transformative experience that provided him with his first real look at structured political engagement and volunteer leadership. Working in rural Montana in 2018 on Senator John Tester’s re-election allowed him to learn about issues that continue to motivate: veteran’s affairs, Indigenous tribal sovereignty, and women’s health care in rural America. Currently, he is Director of Operations for the Union County Democratic Committee where he oversees data and logistics for countywide and municipal races.
Ayisha Mapp is a proud and lifelong resident of Plainfield, New Jersey and Executive Director of Plainfield NOW, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to addressing social, economic, and educational inequalities in Plainfield and the surrounding areas. Ayisha attended Howard University where she studied Political Science and African American Studies and the Public Purchasing program at Rutgers University. Currently, Ayisha is the Purchasing Assistant for the County of Union and Deputy Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Linda S. Carter. Ayisha belongs to the Plainfield Democratic City Committee, where she holds office as treasurer.
Katie Brennan is currently the chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Prior to this, she served as Program Director of Affordable Housing for the County of Hudson. In this capacity, she directed affordable housing production, foreclosure prevention, fair housing, and lead-based paint hazard programs. Katie have also served on Governor Murphy’s Economic Working Group and as the Deputy Policy Director for the Housing Transition Committee. She also currently serves on the boards of The Waterfront Project, New Leaders Council New Jersey, and the Van Vorst Park Neighborhood Association.