I Scream for Equality in Virginia!
Hoping you are enjoying the change of seasons, as unpredictable as all of that has gotten lately (thank you, Greta, and hoping you win a Nobel Peace Prize for your brilliant work!).
Virginia: Will it be the 38th state?
A reminder today that we have just over 4 weeks, a month, until November 5th when the citizens of the ERA-critical state of Virginia will go to the polls. All legislators are up for election. And this election is as much about the Equal Rights Amendment as it is anything else. We lost by just one vote there earlier this year–the ERA will be up again in early 2020. It’s essential that pro-ERA legislators are elected on November 5th. We are talking about the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA.
That’s where you–no matter where you are–come in. The Coalition’s Lead Organization VARatifyERA.Org has mounted an impressive campaign to Get Out the Vote: phones, doorbells, conferences, fundraisers, signs, even an ice cream truck (pictured above!) that’s traveling the state to raise awareness (with our other Lead Org Equal Means Equal–thanks, all!) So much of this can be done from where ever you are–one of our supporters has signed on to coordinate phone banking–she’s in Texas. If you can get to Richmond, there’s some housing available. You can sign up here.
Our Lead Organizations Feminist Majority and National Organization for Women (NOW) are organizing on Virginia college campuses to get out the vote in a very extensive urgent plan. They are hiring. Contact email@example.com if you know of students who want to be a part of this historic effort.
Congress: Update on H.J.Res.38
We have been diligently adding to the co-sponsor list to Rep. Jackie Speier’s HJ Res 38, the bill to remove the deadline in the 1972 ERA’s preamble. DC Director and COO Bettina Hager, and our DC interns Aminat Sanusi and Kevin Chisolm, have been on the Hill many times recently and the results are encouraging. We are up to 210 co-sponsors, so close to our goal of 217. Anything you can do to encourage your representatives to sign on will be very helpful, check out our advocacy map to see if your Representative is on the list.
What the Constitution Means to Me
Our benefit on September 18th at the Kennedy Center’s showing of What the Constitution Means to Me with our board member–star and playwright Heidi Schreck was a big success. Thank you to our extended family of Ellie Smeal of Feminist Majority, Toni Van Pelt of NOW, Linda Coberly of Winston & Strawn, Jeannie Rhee of Paul, Weiss, and Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD, who spoke at our VIP reception as representatives of the event’s sponsors. Thanks to our board members Lauren Embrey, Jessica Neuwirth and corporate sponsor TransUnion. We were also honored to be joined by Congresswomen Lucy McBath of Georgia, Carolyn Maloney of New York, and Jackie Speier of California, who all spoke powerfully about bringing the ERA into reality. Thank you to all of our guests, including a contingent of ten law students from the American Constitution Society at Howard Law School who were able to attend due to the generosity of our sponsors.
A Billion Dollar Commitment
And finally, if you haven’t read it, here is Melinda Gates’ announcement today pledging one billion dollars to gender equity. We believe that the Equal Rights Amendment must be a part of that work–billions have already been spent–and here we are. There must be constitutional equality at the base of the transformation of women’s lives. Agreed? Let us–and them–know.
Co-President and CEO