Statewide Democratic group to meet locally in response to Trump victory

HOBOKEN – On Monday, Nov. 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the newly formed group New Jersey Awakens will host roughly 100 Democrats in Hoboken to discuss the future of the Democratic party and how to mobilize in response to any national legislation that takes away human rights.
(Note for those living in Hoboken, the meeting is taking place at the same time as a controversial Hoboken City Council meeting to discuss a proposed development settlement. That council meeting starts at 7 in Town Hall.)
New Jersey Awakens, founded by Hoboken resident Dana Wefer, chairperson of the Hoboken Housing Authority, is aimed at “organizing Democrats and other progressives to reform the Democratic party and our political system from the ground up” according to the group’s page.
The group will be organizing into committees and recruiting volunteers.
“We’re going to be compiling resources ready to mobilize if President Trump or his cabinet members attempt to implement policies discriminating against anyone on the basis of race, religion, orientation, ethnicity, or sex,” Wefer said.
The group is also organizing phone banks to call voters in Louisiana, where a Senate race will be decided next month, and locally to reach more Democrats. “People are really motivated right now. We need to harness that and give people a productive outlet to effectuate change,” Wefer said. “We can’t just sit by.”
The Democratic Social Club, also started by Wefer, gathers monthly for a happy hour and has registered voters at local festivals, and campaigned for Hillary Clinton making almost 800 calls to Pennsylvania voters on Election Day and organizing canvassing opportunities into Pennsylvania.
“Wednesday morning, I was just shell shocked,” said Wefer. “I thought, I want to get in a room with other Democrats who feel similarly, we need to talk to each other.”
Wefer hopes New Jersey Awakens will serve as an organizing force for Democrats disappointed with the lack of grassroots effort in the Democratic Party.
“The Democratic Party is, in many ways, suffering from the same issues that we see in our society at large, especially social stratification,” Wefer said. “It’s hard to run for office unless you have a lot of money, so our leaders end up being wealthier than the population they serve. Many have lost touch with the grassroots supporters and are insulated from the everyday issues facing people. We need to get back to our grassroots as a party.”

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