By JESSICA HARDING
RED BANK — Women, men and children from all walks of life gathered together on Jan. 21 at the Riverside Gardens Park to stand up for what they believe in.
The day after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, the streets of different areas in America were filled with rallies led by women who wanted to be heard.
The Rally at Riverside Gardens Park began with the song, “This Land Is Your Land,” as people in the area joined together. Protest signs with the phrases, “More alike than different,” “Love trumps hate” and “I am stronger than fear” were held by women in pink articles of clothing.
Red Bank native Tim McLoone served as the host for the event. After a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by Chelsea Palermo, Suellen Sims of the Greater Red Bank Women’s Initiative (GRBWI) took the stage to explain the importance of the rally.
“Welcome to the first day of a remarkable movement,” she said.
Sims shared that the rally was to show support for political activism, tolerance, respect and inclusion of all parties.
“I see a 21st-century America that honors the best parts of the past, where the others are neither feared nor mocked,” she said.
Red Bank residents made up a huge portion of the crowd. Michele Decker was one of them.
“A lot of my friends went to the rally in [Washington, D.C.]. I live down the street, and my friend told me about this rally so I knew I had to come and wanted to do something,” she explained.
Another speaker of the day was Jessica Naulty, pastor of United Methodist Church in Red Bank. She turned the focus to the importance of our planet Earth.
“We only have this one planet. This one home. My family always stressed the importance of compassion and love and caring as best as we can for the planet,” she said.
According to Naulty, we need to protect this one home we have and cannot continue to ignore the further damage of it.
“We can’t stand by and wait for politicians in [Washington, D.C.] to solve our problems. We need to start solving them in our homes, businesses and communities.”
Naulty offered a few ways to save the planet, including the simple means of recycling, buying hybrid cars and carpooling or riding a bike to get places.
Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna was delighted to be part of such an important day.
“This is a great community event. Everyone here is welcome and part of the Red Bank family. We are all in this together.”
Lorraine Stone of The Dialogue Group encouraged attendees of the rally to start speaking up.
“We can’t just sit around for four years without talking,” she said. “When you engage in dialogue, you also need to listen to help others understand.”
Red Bank resident Alexa Kelly described how we all may appear to be different, but have a lot of similarities.
“No matter what race or gender you are, you are still able to feel love.”
Another influential speaker was Ellen Herman of the GRBWI. She was inspired by the rallies throughout the country and the half of a million attendees in Washington, D.C.
She encouraged the crowd to take a step forward, which signified their march to support each other.
The event was filled with emotion, tears and laughs as participants were inspired.