The Women Leading NJ’s Suburban Resistance to Trump Policies

WNYC News | October 18, 2018 | Elections 2018, Politics
Unprecedented grassroots activism in Garden State suburbs sprang out of opposition to the president and his policies. Now it’s focused on the midterm elections

Three activist groups that were started by women in the aftermath of the Trump election are changing the political landscape of a large swath of the New Jersey suburbs.

Amy Higer of Maplewood said she was “devastated” by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and set out to connect with others who felt the same. Shortly afterward, she helped found SOMA Action.

In Berkeley Heights, Margaret Illis sought out others online for the same reasons as Higer. Within a month, Illis had formed NJ 7 Forward, which began advocating for U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) to oppose what the group saw as the extreme policies of President Donald Trump.

At the same time, Saily Avelenda was joining online groups in her congressional district, the 11th, held by U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. That led to the formation of NJ 11th for Change, which played a significant role in convincing Frelinghuysen not to run for re-election. Avelenda left her job after being targeted by Frelinghuysen. She’s now the paid director of the group.

These women and the groups they are a part of are now channeling their anger into the midterm elections.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.