With the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris we celebrate the culmination of a dedicated struggle that began four torturous years ago. The 2016 presidential election result inspired a West Orange neighborhood Unity March. We came together as a community to signal our opposition to the Republic Party’s racist, sexist, and homophobic propaganda and Republicans’ radical rightwing agenda. Out of our unity, Essex Rising was formed, with clear democratic principles and progressive social goals. Realizing that politics begins at home, we resolved to work for change from the grassroots upward, within our town, our county, our congressional district, and our state, en route to the White House, to ensure that those who represent us truly do represent the people who elected them. Now is a wonderful moment to reflect on our many victories during the last four years, won with progressive partner organizations.
We engaged in the primary process to replace Governor Chris Christie and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, both sycophantic Republicans and entrenched servants of the elite in New JerseyMany people thought it was impossible for a Democrat to win New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, but we were able to help Mikie Sherrill win that seat in 2018 with strong support within Essex County. And, in November 2020, Mikie Sherrill not only won reelection but also turned Morris County Democratic!
Mikie Sherrill9, and 2021
Congresswoman, NJ II, 201
Since Governor Murphy’s election in 2017, he has been implementing a progressive agenda in New Jersey, and has done a great job leading our state through the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the more local level, Essex Rising Steering Committee member Cindy Matute-Brown won election to the West Orange Town Council in 2018, surprising many in the political establishment (but not us!). Today, Councilwoman Matute-Brown is the President of the Town Council.
Councilwoman, West Orange, 2019
Council President, West Orange, 2021
In addition, Essex Rising backed Terry Trigg-Scales for Board of Education in 2018, and Jennifer Tunnicliffe in 2019; both won, and today they are the Board President and Vice President.
The West Orange Municipal Democratic Committee is today chaired by Abdur Yasin, who surprised many when he won election to that position.
In 2020, Essex Rising endorsed, worked for, and then celebrated the November election of both Bill Rutherford to the West Orange Town Council and Melinda Huerta to the Board of Education, further surprising many and proving once again that when we all get involved and insist on representatives who will support our progressive agenda, we win.
We have now defeated the worst president in modern American history. In this last year almost as many Americans died of a largely preventable disease as were killed during World War II. Among his 30,000+ lies, the former President’s most deadly were about COVID-19, but the most dangerous were his attempts to discredit the 2020 election, used to provoke an insurrection against our democracy. The attempted coup failed, but many in this country continue to believe the white supremacist propaganda that seeks to disenfrancise citizens of this country and to perpetuate the institutional racism that has plagued this country since its founding.
Many Essex Rising members worked hard to contribute to the victories for the two new Georgia Senators—the first African American and the first Jewish Senator from that state—who became the key to Democrat control of the legislative agenda in the Biden presidency. In Georgia, the leadership of Stacey Abrams and the grassroots work of Georgia organizers, particularly to deliver African-American voter turnout, have shown the way toward taking traditionally southern, Republican states, and this has many lessons for us in Essex County as well, as we think about local entrenched power structures.
The last few years have shown us that our democracy does not function very well; it needs much work to improve it, and to guard it. Looking back at the last four years, we have proven that our commitment to that work will lead to success. We are proud of those who have chosen to run for public office and of those who have organized local discussions of difficult, sometimes uncomfortable, topics. All of this makes a difference in the way our government and our society function. We need to do this at every level, from our town to the White House.
It takes hard work and commitment to deliver democracy. But, united, we can do it. We can achieve even what many view as impossible. We have begun the process. The struggle continues with the help of our members.
If you are eager to participate in the hard and fulfilling work of organizing, leading, and promoting a progressive agenda, please contact the Steering Committee and join us as we work for progress!
A Community Responds to Insurrection!
About this event
In a response to the events of January 6th, the West Orange Youth Caucus, the West Orange Young Democrats, Essex Rising, and Our Revolution Essex County are hosting a digital event on January 16th at 7pm, entitled “IMPEACH HATE” with the goal of refuting the events witnessed that day. We all watched our government representatives narrowly escape the wrath of a seditious mob, brandishing weapons and emblazoned with symbols of violence, hatred, racism, and antisemitism. We demand those who breached the Capitol and those in our security apparatus who turned a blind eye, stepped aside, delayed the response, or actively facilitated this insurrection must be held accountable. It is time to acknowledge the hypocrisy of police response. We demand Trump is impeached, that all who participated in seditious acts of undermining the election process be censured and expelled including Cruz, Hawley, and Jersey’s own Jeff Van Drew. We will be joined by local leaders to discuss how we move forward and more information and discussion on the insurrection we witnessed at the Capitol last week!
Essex Rising Co-Signs New Jersey Group Letter to US and State elected officials in response to January 6th insurrection.
Calling on Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, all New Jersey House Representatives, Governor Murphy, New Jersey Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin to meet our demands in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
January 9, 2021
On January 6, 2021, rioters attempted an anti-democratic insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., incited by the President of the United States and certain Members of Congress. We, a coalition of New Jersey non-profit and grassroots organizations, call upon you to issue a strong public response to this appalling event.
The President of the United States betrayed his oath to uphold the Constitution. He attempted to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election, encouraged acts of domestic terrorism, and impeded attempts to send in reinforcements, thereby putting our nation’s leaders in danger. He must face the most severe and swift consequences. All those who planned, enabled, or participated in these seditious acts must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
We respectfully ask you to take immediate action on our following demands:
1. Call for governmental censure of President Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection.
2. Demand the immediate removal of President Trump through the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
3. Publicly condemn the white privilege afforded by law enforcement to January 6 perpetrators, and call out the stark difference in how police prepared for and treated the white supremacist insurrectionists versus peaceful protestors of color.
4. Insist on a thorough joint-agency investigation into the failure to secure the Capitol Building, both in advance and in the midst of the insurrection, through appropriate coordination with federal and municipal law enforcement and the National Guard.
5. Demand that the Department of Justice prosecute all those who incited or were complicit in the insurrection, including President Trump and Members of Congress, to the fullest extent of the law.
New Jerseyans need to hear loud and clear that the events of January 6 are reprehensible, and do not represent the values America stands for. While this was indeed a dark day for our country, American democracy is strong. We look to you as our elected official to use your power and influence to amplify this message. We consider it necessary to uphold your oath to defend us “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” by acting on the above demands.
We collectively thank you for your dedication and your service to our country.
Members write to your representatives and demand continued action against these seditious acts.