Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman of the 12th District of New Jersey hosted her third annual Women's Power Luncheon in Princeton, New Jersey at the Westin Hotel on October 31, 2017. The Women’s Power Luncheon was about everything its title suggest, “women”, “power” and “dining”; yet the two most powerful women in the room, Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, used the opportunity to speak about so much more. Specifically, they spoke about what they are experiencing at their home away from home - Washington, DC, and the man in the oval office, Donald Trump.
The sold out venue was filled with women executives, many of whom were integral in propelling Watson-Coleman from her New Jersey Assembly seat to the United States House of Representatives. “This event represents who I am, and why I ran for Congress. This room is packed with women that look like America, a diverse tapestry of talented women who are leaders in business, in the labor movement, in nonprofit leadership, education and even the faith community yet they are concerned for the least among us and are motivated by what is right not what is politically expedient,” said Watson-Coleman.
The Women’s Power Luncheon also served as the backdrop for yet another powerful Democrat, California's 43rd District Representative Maxine Waters, to officially endorse Phil Murphy, who is running for Governor in New Jersey. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry have stomped in New Jersey, in support of Murphy, over the past 30 days. Watson-Coleman endorsed Murphy early in his campaign, and his wife Tammy, and running mate, Sheila Oliver were featured guests at the luncheon. Watson-Coleman said, “New Jersey will demonstrate what the political landscape looks like in this new Trump-era. We have had a Governor, who's political ambitions devastated our state and economy on the backs of working families. Now, its time for a change. I fully believe in the work of Ambassador Murphy and his running mate Sheila Oliver. They have a vision of inclusiveness and equality to bring back this great state.”
The luncheon was an uplifting event, that included a gospel ensemble and moving speeches, all with the intent to inspire and energize the attendees. Throughout the luncheon there was a consistent message directing the women to continue using their power, positions and vision to cultivate positive change on their jobs and in their communities. “I have attended Congresswoman Bonnie’s luncheon every year because it is an honor to be in the company of so many women with the common mission of using one hand to break the glass ceiling and the other hand to pull our sisters up the ladder,” said Natasha Rodgers, Executive Director of the Simuel Whitfield Simmons Organization.
Watson-Coleman’s senior colleague, affectionately named Auntie Maxine by her ever-expanding base of millennial fans, was enthusiastically received by the audience. Watson-Coleman said, “Maxine Waters has been a righteous voice in congress for decades, calling out lies, falsehoods and trickery. Never has her voice been more needed than in the current political climate, where she has distinguished herself as a consistent voice against the lies and deceit of this Trump Administration. Her truth is refreshing and inspirational, at a time when the absurd is often presented as normal.” Waters boycotted Trump’s Presidential inauguration; has called him a deplorable, a bum, a disgrace and unstable. Not one to filter her thoughts when it comes to Trump, Waters said, “Donald Trump is the most dishonorable and despicable human being to ever serve in the office of the president.”
Waters has been a member in Congress for 26 years and Watson-Coleman a mere two years, but that has not caused Watson-Coleman to shy away from expressing her disdain for Trump. Watson-Coleman, who also boycotted Trump’s inauguration, has called him an egotist, a narcissist and incompetent. She previously stated, “He is absolutely disgusting, and he is an embarrassment as president of the United States of America, and he makes me sick to my stomach.”
Watson-Coleman and Waters are two of the 21 African-American women currently in Congress. Kamala Harris, a Democratic Senator from California, is the sole African-American woman in the senate, and only the second Black female senator in US history. Watson-Coleman and Waters spoke of their responsibility to effectively represent their constituents and fight against the wrongs in Washington. Waters ended her speech giving her most impassioned call-to-action of the afternoon, “Impeach 45!” - to which she was rewarded with an uproarious applause and a standing ovation.