Five years ago, a group of Summit women, fresh home from the Women’s March On Washington, sat down at a kitchen table to address the emergency represented by the election of Donald Trump. We felt an urgency to do something and knew there were neighbors who felt just like we did.
Summit Marches On was born from the idea that a hyperlocal group that made it easy to participate in activism would spark interest in people, many who perhaps had never before been politically active but who realized that these extraordinary times require every one of us to fight for our shared values, our community and our country. Five years later, we continue, only now it’s alongside hundreds of like-minded neighbors.
While it’s nearly impossible to fully describe just how much we have accomplished together in that time, here are some highlights of what 1,825 days of Marching On has looked like:
2017: Year One
Sent more than 2000 postcards to representatives demanding accountability.
“Flash Shopped” Nordstrom in thanks when the retailer dropped Ivanka Trump’s line from their store.
Collected thousands of period products for GRACE.
Were among the first attendees of the local Syria Supper Clubs.
Coordinated carpools and attended rallies at Leonard Lance's office.
Spearheaded local sales of Hate has No Home Here lawn signs.
Organized the first Milk of Human Kindness shelf-stable milk drive for GRACE.
Hosted an event exposing the effects of Christie’s defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Created a change.org petition—garnering nearly 38,000 signatures—demanding that Congress defend programs providing low income kids with school lunch aid from attempts at subversion by the Trump Administration.
Coordinated attendance at an Unchained at Last protest against Governor Christie’s veto of the child marriage ban.
Coordinated SMO attendance at Leonard Lance’s Town Halls.
2018: Year Two
SMO co-founders testified for safe and sane gun laws in Trenton.
Hosted sold-out crowd to view the documentary RBG as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Sent 5,000 vote by mail applications to New Jerseyans in partnership with Action Together New Jersey’s (ATNJ) “Sticky Note Squad.”
Sent holiday cards to NJ elected officials asking them to act on gun safety bills.
Hosted postcard parties (via ATNJ) to encourage registered Dems to help flip Lance’s Congressional seat.
Expanded awareness of the local issues affecting our Summit Common Council race, helping to expand Dem representation on Council.
Hosted “Fem Dem” postcard parties via ATNJ to encourage local female Dems to get out and vote.
Created and sold 86/45 t-shirts to benefit Summit Area Indivisible.
Coordinated buses, tv crew, and Congressional hopeful to March for Our Lives rally in DC.
Coordinated food and beverage donations for over 4000 canvassers for massive GOTV for Malinowski for Congress.
Hosted a toy drive to address the shortfall of donations for Be The Change’s annual gifting to high-risk children living in shelters.
2019: Year Three
Created and sold t-shirts to support Planned Parenthood.
Hosted the “Woman to Woman Period.” product drive for 28 Days, collecting more than 10,000 pads and tampons.
Supported 150 food-insecure Summit families with bags of “April Groceries” during our annual support of the Junior League of Summit’s food drive. An additional $2,500 was contributed to this effort.
Helped organize Lights for Liberty Vigil in Elizabeth to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.
Organized postcard parties “to-go” via ATNJ encouraging Summit Democrats to vote.
Hosted another HR8 phonebank and coordinated video endorsements of the bill.
Collected dozens of Shop Rite gift cards via Summit UPS Store for GRACE.
2020: Year Four (aka the year we defeated Trump)
Launched SHIELD of Summit, which paired more than 150 volunteers with local seniors for grocery shopping and errands.
Launched Adopt-a-Family, which matched 55 vulnerable families with neighbors who provided a weekly bag of groceries during the first few months of the pandemic.
Launched the Fabric Mask Assembly Line, which organized scores of locals to make 7,000 homemade masks for our local front line workers and those in need, including our Senior Housing residents, participants in GRACE, SHIP, and C.H.A.T., volunteers at Summit EMS, and the staff at Overlook Hospital.
Raised $12,600 for the Community Foodbank of NJ following a video campaign produced by SMO leadership highlighting how CFBNJ helped our community as the food supply chain strained the ability of our local Meals on Wheels to source meals in the initial weeks of the pandemic. We were also able to connect local charity Other Fellow First Foundation with Meals on Wheels, and they facilitated sourcing meals from the Summit Diner as well as funding.
Designed and sold “SMO Swag” (reusable grocery bags and car magnets) to raise funds for our voter registration and GOTV postcard/letter initiatives.
Created a spin-off Facebook page, the Summit Volunteer Hub, with support from the Junior League of Summit. The Volunteer Hub page now boasts 842 local volunteers connecting with local organizations in need of help.
Joined dozens of community members for an outdoor screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble followed by a panel discussion.
Hosted a rally for the USPS on the Village Green to defend the US Postal Service from ambush by DeJoy’s dismantling of postal machines and slowing down of service.
Sent letters encouraging 1,200 NJ Dems who moved in-state to re-register to vote (via ATNJ).
Sent 2,400 postcards to encourage Rep. Malinowski’s re-election.
Send 4,800 voter registration applications to likely Dem voters in battleground states via Vote Forward.
20,000+ low-propensity voters in Philadelphia, PA were contacted by a celebrity digital GOTV campaign featuring the frontmen of the Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff and others coordinated by SMO leadership in partnership with HeadCount and Global Citizen.
Organized 70 volunteers to knock on more than 15,000 doors in key districts in Philadelphia.
In partnership with SAI, sold 650 Say Their Names lawn signs, raising $5,500 to donate to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
Organized a tribute to RBG - hundreds of Summit residents honored the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at our candlelight vigil, marking the first time the Mourner’s Kaddish was recited on Summit’s Village Green, a significant milestone considering the prior year’s anti-semitic graffiti at a Summit public school building.
Sold RBG t-shirts featuring the striking portrait of RBG by local artist Yolanda Fundora raising $1,000 to benefit the DSCC.
300+ volunteers wrote and mailed 21,835 GOTV letters to battleground state voters as part of a local consortium of grassroots organizations — Swing Left of North Central New Jersey, Millburn Short Hills Action Network, SOMA Action Discussion, and Cranford Rising — that collectively sent 110,000 GOTV letters for Vote Forward (final nationwide tally was 15 MILLION LETTERS sent by grassroots groups and individuals).
Sent 10,000+ postcards to voters in Georgia ahead of the January runoff election in Georgia (which resulted in the election of Senators Raphael Warnock and Joel Ossoff) via The New Georgia Project and 4,750 postcards via The Georgia Postcard Project.
Recruited phonebankers and textbankers for numerous candidates including Jaime Harrison.
Recruited volunteers to ballot cure in Nevada and New Jersey.
2021: Year Five
In partnership with the Presidential Inaugural Committee, hosted a sanitary product drive to commemorate the MLK Day of Service and to celebrate the election of President Joe Biden. SMO members donated 11,154 pads, 2,093 tampons and $3,100 which were donated to 28 Days, a local organization that worked to end period poverty.
Recruited/encouraged two dozen people to publicly testify at the NJ Redistricting Commission meetings.
Re-launched our public-facing Facebook page to expand our reach outside our private group.
Mailed 500 postcards to CEOs in TX in response to TX Abortion Ban.
Sent 2,400 postcards to lean-Dem New Jerseyans to inform them about the upcoming CD-7 Congressional race stakes.
Sent 1,200 postcards to neighbors in New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Springfield, Mountainside and Union to encourage them to register to vote.
In partnership with Progressive Turnout Project, sent 2,500 GOTV postcards to NJ progressives.
Encouraged 1,000 residents in Summit, Union and Linden to register to vote via a friendly postcard initiative in partnership with ATNJ.
SMO members donated a combined 45 $25 Shop Rite gift cards via the Summit UPS store for GRACE’s holiday gift card drive.
Hosted a Great Big Diaper Drive benefiting Community FoodBank of NJ
2022: Year Six
Co-hosted “Mark the Anniversary: Fight the Lies” Zoom forum with Defenders of Democracy Against Disinformation (DDAD).
Sent 1,550 letters to introduce TX voters to Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.
Sent hundreds of letters to our NJ delegation encouraging them to act to combat anti-semitism with specific actions.
Sent 500 postcards to encourage lean-Dem Wisconsoners to register to vote ahead of the midterm elections.
Launched 15 new SMO committees to expand both our reach and our impact as the 2022 midterms approach.
Launched our monthly SMO Action Newsletter to our nearly 2,000 subscribers.
Though our initial goal—to defeat Trump—was realized in 2020, his destruction continues, with those who support his authoritarian impulses continuing to weaken our country. Fascism has reared its ugly head, and these next few years are going to require every single one of us to stay informed and work together to achieve the future we know is possible.
Thank you for joining us to push our community and our country forward over the past five years. The fight continues.