Current and former Verona residents marked the inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the world this past weekend. Some, like the Bovich family, hosted a celebration at home.
Nick Frank went to Washington for the inauguration. “I am here today with the Carpenters Union,” he texted on Friday, “enjoying the gathering of common people with differences of opinion but we all share the same color blood.” Frank, whose insurance business has been advocating for senior citizens on Medicare for the past 20 years, went to D.C. to persuade the incoming administration to include those on Medicare from being denied Medicare Supplement Insurance due to pre-existing health conditions, which could happen under certain situations even under the Affordable Care Act. While Frank didn’t meet with President Trump, he did speak with many elected officials who were unaware of the problem. “Since Obamacare will be going through major changes in the near future,” Frank says, “this is one area that needs immediate attention.”
Pink, meanwhile, was the dominant color at the events attended on Saturday by many other people from Verona, which had voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump 50.9% to 43.3% in the November election.
Verona women, men and high school students were on the 12 buses that traveled south from Montclair for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday. Others travelled by car, reporting long lines at highway rest stops. Still others packed DeCamp buses to Manhattan for New York’s sister march, while more marched in cities from Albany to Los Angeles in the U.S., as well as in Rome, Italy and Gothenburg, Sweden.
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Many Veronans made their march a family affair, including one clan that rallied members from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Washington and New Jersey. “The Eliasof and Jenny families marched because we disagree with many of the new administration’s policies and positions,” said Jane Eliasof, “particularly basic human rights, climate change and the role of the media in democracy.”
While Gloria Machnowski rode the DeCamp into New York City for the march there, her husband Stephen and daughter Nina, a Verona High School freshman, rode their bikes all the way in. “We had a great ride. It was 31.5 miles to the Women’s March, from Verona, over the GWB, and down to Manhattan,” Stephen Machnowski said by email. “It only took about 2:40 at a medium pace. We learned a lot about the value of Greenways and Bike Lanes to communities, as well as the peaceful, safe, co-existence of multiple-use on them by runners, dog walkers, and parents with baby strollers.”
Former Verona residents also turned out for marches. Catherine Robinson Willner, who grew up in Verona, marched in Memphis, where the event centered around the National Civil Rights Museum that was created from the Lorraine Hotel where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Susan Arnot Heaney, a Verona High School class of 1975 graduate who now lives in New York, said she marched in Washington, “because we are one nation, one people and one planet, and the divisive, partisan incoming administration threatens them all.” Heaney, who is now the head of marketing and company engagement at the environmental group Rainforest Alliance, says that she has been standing up and speaking out on important issues her whole. “In truth, having just heard the inaugural address, I am more frightened and worried than ever, and more committed to remaining vigilant and activated,” she said. “I am appalled by the inaugural ceremony, which felt more like a strident Christian religious rally than the inauguration of a leader who serves all people. I am actually terrified for our nation.”
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