The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to recognize Women’s History Month with a series of event highlighting both history and health issues impacting women and girls in Union County.

“This year marks the first time that five women have seats on the Freeholder Board, making it the first female-majority Freeholder Board in Union County history,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “In recognition of this historical milestone, we are sponsoring additional Women’s History Month events that raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, an important health issues affecting the lives of women and girls today.”

Women’s History Month takes place throughout the month of March, including a day reserved for recognizing National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10.

The Freeholder Board has partnered with Iris House of Plainfield to offer three free Women’s HIV/AIDS Awareness events at the three Union County College campuses in Plainfield, Cranford and Elizabeth.

Each event includes a brief educational presentation followed by Q&A with expert staff from Iris House. Rapid, confidential HIV/AIDS testing will be offered separately at each campus. To ensure privacy, testing will take place in the Iris House mobile unit parked at each UCC campus during the educational presentation event times.

Iris House, named for early HIV Activist Iris De La Cruz, was the nation’s first HIV/AIDS agency to provide family focused services to women of color infected and affected by HIV. It offers comprehensive support, prevention and education services for women, families, and underserved populations affected by HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in a safe, family-centered environment by passionate, professional and culturally competent staff.

For more information about Iris House and its comprehensive services visit

All three events are open to the public.

The educational presentations will begin at 2:00 p.m. on each day. Testing at the mobile units also be available on a walk-in basis for individuals ages 18 and older from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

Dates and locations:

Monday, March 18: Union County College Cranford Campus, in Room SD229 in the new Student Development Building. The main entrance to the campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford.

Tuesday, March 19: Union County College Plainfield Campus, in Room LG119 in the Logos Building located at 232 East Second Street in Plainfield.

Thursday, March 21: Union County College, Elizabeth Campus, in Room K517 at the UCC Kellogg Building located at 40 West Jersey Street, Elizabeth.

The Iris House presentations are designed to cover basic facts about HIV and AIDS including:

  • What is HIV
  • What is the difference between HIV and AIDS
  • How is HIV transmitted: fact vs. myth
  • How to protect against HIV includes: condoms, abstinence, and other methods

Union County’s recognition of Women’s History Month also includes an exhibition of notable women in Union County history in the Freeholder’s Gallery, located on the 6th Floor of the Union County Administration Building, at 10 Elizabeth Plaza in Elizabeth. The gallery is open to the public during regular weekday business hours.

Also scheduled for the month of March are:

Friday, March 29th, 2019:  Women of Excellence Awards presentation, sponsored by the Freeholder Board through the Office on Women and Union County Commission on the Status of Women, will take place at Gran Centurions, 440 Madison Hill Road, Clark, beginning at 6:00 p.m. For ticket information contact the Office on Women, Jennifer Erdos at 908-527-4216.

Saturday, March 30th, 2019:  The Office on Women presents the play “In Their Footsteps” at the Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway at 1:30 p.m. The event includes a screening of the Union County Women Making History video, a Q-and-A session, and a reception.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present a free performance of the play In Their Footsteps on Saturday, March 30, at 1:30 p.m., at the Union County Performing Arts Center’s Hamilton Stage, located at 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway.

The Hamilton Stage production of In Her Footsteps is presented through the Union County Department of Economic Development, Office on Women. Admission is free of charge but seating is limited and pre-registration is required.  In their Footsteps honors five American women who served in the Vietnam War, using their own words to tell the story. One of the five women featured in the play is Judy Jenkins Gaudino, a resident of Summit.

“Over 50 years ago, thousands of young American women went to Vietnam to serve their country. For the most part, these women’s stories remain untold,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “In Their Footsteps recovers this lost chapter of women’s history in vivid detail.” “On behalf of the Freeholder Board, I would like to thank Ms. Gaudino for her participation in this project, and for her efforts to raise awareness about the lives and experiences of women in war,” Freeholder Chair Kowalski added.

The afternoon includes:

  • A short talk and introduction by Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski.
  • Debut of the Union County Women Making History Video, featuring Judy Jenkins Gaudino.
  • Showing of the play In Their Footsteps.
  • Question and Answer session with Judy Jenkins Gaudino and actors.

In Their Footsteps was created by the non-profit theatre company Infinite Variety Productions, through interviews with five women who served in Vietnam: Ann Kelsey (Special Services Librarian), Judy Jenkins Gaudino (Special Services Recreation Employee), Jeanne “Sam” Christie (Red Cross, Donut Dollie), Lily Adams (US Army Nurse), and Doris “Lucki” Allen (US Army Intelligence Specialist). Infinite Variety Productions was established in 2011, and is dedicated to sharing the many unknown stories from women’s history.

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Cultural Events Calendar

Mar. 10
3 pm
African American Heritage Celebration

Enjoy outstanding young aspiring artists and superbly trained professional artists who will showcase their talents. Performances include vocal music, instrumental music, oratory/spoken word and dance. Reception follows the concert.


Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
716 Watchung Ave., Plainfield
908-812-8630 for questions

Mar. 14
12 noon
Lunch ‘n Lecture with Carmelo Snow

Meet Carmelo Snow graffiti and mural artist. He has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. His wide range of skills have been used in corporate installations, private commissions, graffiti art, and merchandising. Join us for a free lunch and lecture from this talented artists.

duCret School of Art
1030 Central Ave., Plainfield

Mar. 9, 16, 22, 23 @ 8 pm
Mar. 17 @ 2 pm
On Borrowed Time, a drama by Paul Osborne – presented by the Westfield Community Players

Young Pud is orphaned and left in the care of his aged grandparents. The boy and his cantankerous old grandfather become inseparable friends. But Gramps is concerned for his grandson’s future and wary of a scheming relative who seeks Pud’s custody. One day Mr. Brink–an agent of Death–arrives to take Gramps “to the land where the woodbine twineth.” Through a bit of trickery, Gramps confines Mr. Brink, and thus Death, to the top of an old apple tree, giving Gramps extra time to resolve issues about Pud’s future.

$22 adults; $10 active military & high school students
Westfield Community Players
1000 North Ave. West, Westfield

Mar. 17
3 pm

The annual Festival of Organists – presented by Crescent Concerts. Don’t miss it.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
716 Watchung Ave., Plainfield
General Admission $25, Seniors $20, Students $10

Mar. 19, 2019
11:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Florian Schantz Jazz Combo performs (program details tba).
Kenilworth Public Library
548 Boulevard, Kenilworth

Mar. 24, 2019
11:30 am

The “Sunday Arts Brunch” series presents the award-winning film “Humor Me.” Includes a healthy, light brunch.

YM-YWHA of Union County
501 Green Lane, Union

Mar. 31
3 pm
Oratorio Singers Present “Sonic Spectacular”

Under the direction of Trent Johnson, The Oratorio Singers present their annual concert, featuring Organ, Brass and Percussion: Mozart’s “Te Deum,” Charles Wood’s “O Thou the Central Orb;” John Ireland’s “Greater Love Hath no Man;” John Rutter’s “All Creatures of Our God and King;” Stephan Adams’ “The Holy City;” Edward Elgar’s “The Spirit of the Lord;” and selections from Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.”

Adults $20 | Seniors $15
First United Methodist Church
1 East Broad St., Westfield

Apr. 2
2 pm
Concert by Jody Mullen – Accompanied by Karen Kowalski

Members of the public are invited to join SAGE Eldercare Spend-A-Day clients in enjoying a free concert by lyric soprano Jody Mullen, accompanied by pianist Karen Kowalski.

SAGE Eldercare Spend-A-Day
290 Broad St., Summit
(908) 598-5520

Apr. 14
4 pm
Soprano Kristina Bacharach Sings with Piano and Saxophone at Afternoon Music Concert

Pianist Mitchell Vines performs a program of classical music plus cabaret with soprano Kristina Bacharach and saxophonist Sam Sadigursky in the Afternoon Music series. Reception follows the program.

$25  |  Seniors $20  |  Students FREE
Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit
4 Waldron Ave. (at Springfield Ave.), Summit

Apr. 18
6 pm

Let Everyone ‘No’ the Truth. A spiritually inspired play which focuses on the journey of a secular young man through the 40-day Lenten season.

Tickets $3
Plainfield Senior Citizens Service Center
400 E. Front St. (1st Floor), Plainfield

May 4, 11, 17 & 18 at 8 pm
May 19 at 2 pm
Follies, a musical by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Goldman

The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the “Weismann’s Follies,” a musical revue based on the Ziegfeld Follies, that had played in that theatre between the World Wars. It focuses on two couples who attend the reunion.

$25 adults  |  $15 active military & high school students
Westfield Community Players
1000 North Ave. West, Westfield