Maretta Short, the first Black woman to lead the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women, passed away in 2007.
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At 72, she was an old lady.
In 1984, Short got interested in politics by serving as the Ramapo College student organizer for Reverend Jesse Jackson’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
She attempted to become a Jackson-backed delegate to the Democratic National Convention from the 39th Legislative District through the primary election but lost.
Short co-founded the Essex County Chapter of Women of Color and Allies and went on to co-host a radio show called Joy of Resistance on New York’s WBAI 95.
In 1997, she was elected vice president of NOW-NJ, and by the early 2000s, she was serving as the organization’s spokeswoman.
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In 2011, Moorestown public school teacher and leader of the South Jersey NOW-Alice Paul Chapter Rita Spaulding defeated Short in a race for re-election.
“Maretta faced racism early and throughout her life and specifically came to preach that racism is, and always has been, a women’s issue,” said Jill Lazare, acting president of NOW-NJ.
The women’s movement could use more fighters like Marta right now, and Marta was one of them. Clearly, she has left a void that won’t be filled