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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Union County Women Making History Video Series – Jan Lilien 

The Union County Board of Freeholders is proud to announce that the Union County Office on Women has created a new series of videos highlighting women of achievement and leadership here in Union County, NJ. The new video series will be called Union County Women Making History.

This video features Jan Lilien, YWCA and her work that is an inspiration to breakdown the stereotypes of domestic violence survivors. It is the second of a series of videos that highlight the achievements of the women of Union County and their contributions. 

YWCA is on mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities:


Jennifer Erdos, Coordinator
Fax 527-4875
10 Elizabethtown Plaza, 2nd Floor
Elizabeth, NJ


The mission of the Office on Women is to help ensure that women connect with services and programs that enable them to reach their full potential at every stage of their lives, in education, in employment and business, health, and in the social fabric of Union County, and to raise awareness of the many contributions that women make to life in Union County.


The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to announce the development of the new Office on Women. Established under the Department of Human Services, the Union County Office on Women is the first County government office of its kind in New Jersey.

“The Office on Women will provide a platform for leadership and advocacy on the needs of women of all ages, and serve as a catalyst for awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact women’s lives,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen.

The new Office on Women serves women in all walks of life throughout Union County. Through analysis, research and strategic collaboration the Office on Women will work to ensure that local programs and services support women’s leadership, equality and advancement in the home, at work and in the community.