By Alexander Mirabella
Chairman, Union County Board of County Commissioners
March is Women’s History Month, and the Union County Board of Commissioners is proud to celebrate the lives of remarkable women in history and the history makers of today, too.
On March 31, we will be honoring women who were instrumental in the fight for women’s suffrage, who prevailed with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919. Everyone is invited to enjoy a free virtual performance of Reclaiming Our Voice: New Jersey’s Role in Woman Suffrage, which recounts the struggle for the right to vote from the perspective of Plainfield resident Lillian Feickert, who was president of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association from 1912 to 1920.
For information about joining Reclaiming Our Voice on Zoom, visit the Union County Office on Women at ucnj.org/women.
To celebrate and recognize women who are making history today, everyone is also invited to submit their nominations for the 2021 Tribute to SHeroes Award. The award honors women who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, pride and commitment to their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether they are neighbors, friends, coworkers, caretakers, sisters, mothers, educators, doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, untold numbers of women in Union County strove to hold our community together in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis. We want to highlight and memorialize their efforts as an inspiration to the young women of today, and for future generations.
Nominations are being accepted all throughout Women’s History Month, until March 31. To submit a nomination, visit ucnj.org/ women, or call 908-527-4216 for more information.
As part of our commitment to supporting diversity, equality, and inclusion for all women, this month we are also launching the second year of our new “OUT in Union County: Queer Empowerment Hour” series. Queer Empowerment Hour is a monthly online story and discussion series exploring LGBTQ+ topics with advocates, allies, community leaders, and other stakeholders.
For more information about participating in the conversation, visit our Office of LGBTQ Affairs at ucnj.org/lgbtq or call 908-527-4742.
Finally, I would also like remind everyone that 2021 marks the first year of a historic change in title for County elected officials throughout the state of New Jersey.
Until January 1 of this year, County Commissioners were titled “Chosen Freeholders.” Freeholder is a holdover from the earliest years in American history, when only property owners – primarily, white males – were entitled to hold elected office. Though interesting as a historical artifact, the Freeholder title does not reflect the fight for equal rights in our history, for which so many have sacrificed so much. Nor does it reflect the diversity of today’s society, especially so in Union County, which is one of the most diverse counties in New Jersey.
The Union County Board of County Commissioners exemplifies the need for change. Women currently hold a majority of six seats on our nine-member board, including Vice Chair Rebecca Williams and Commissioners Angela Garretson, Bette Jane Kowalski, Lourdes M. Leon, Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded and Andrea Staten.
Please join us this March in celebrating the extraordinary women of Union County, both past and present.
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