It was an amazing year for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and we have so much to look forward to in 2020. The time for the ERA is now, and with your support we are certain it will get done.
Virginia is poised to vote to ratify the ERA in January, becoming the 38th and final state required for ratification to the U.S. Constitution. The House of Representatives stands ready for a full floor vote on HJ Res 79, the bill to remove the time limit placed on the 1972 ERA. HJ Res 79 received a 21-11 vote in the House Judiciary Committee this past month to be reported to the floor and currently has 223 co-sponsors, far more than needed for passage. The Senate is adding co-sponsors almost daily to SJ Res 6, the companion bill to HJ Res 79. One cannot question this unparalleled recent progress for the ERA. That’s saying a lot for nearly 100 years of work
The ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality is honored to work beside so many activists, legislators and supporters making equality for girls and women in this country a reality. Among our achievements this year:
- Worked with the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary on organizing the first ERA hearing in Congress in 36 years. On April 30, 2019 the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties convened to discuss the ERA. The Coalition was instrumental in coordination and preparation of the witnesses.
- Organized, moderated and participated in Senate and House staff briefings on the ERA to educate key staff members of U.S. Senators and Representatives.
- Issued a nationwide petition to Judiciary Chair Nadler to hold a vote on HJ Res 79. Nearly 1500 national and local organizations and individuals across the country joined us. On November 13th, HJ Res 79 passed out of the Judiciary Committee and was reported to the House floor for a vote.
- Worked with Congressional leaders and their staff to support passage of ERA legislation. These leaders include Representative Jackie Speier, lead sponsor of HJ Res 79; Representative Carolyn Maloney, lead sponsor of HJ Res 35; Senators Ben Cardin and Lisa Murkowski, co-lead sponsors of SJ Res 6; and Senator Bob Menendez, lead sponsor of SJ Res 15.
- Met with Congressional staff and organized national cosponsor drives to add a record number of cosponsors to federal ERA legislation. HJ Res 79, the bill to remove the ERA time limit, has 223 cosponsors and its companion bill SJ Res 6 has 19. HJ Res 35, the traditional ERA, has 179 cosponsors and related bill SJ Res 15 has 21.
- Formed and convened a Legal Task Force of top constitutional lawyers and prepared a legal brief for circulation to Congress.
- Hosted regular bi-weekly calls of our Lead Organizations, bringing together activists from across the country to strategize, support and share information on the campaigns to ratify the ERA in the 13 remaining unratified states.
- Connected weekly with our thousands of followers with our Newsletter– and daily on social media.
- Wrote Op-eds, legal papers and did interviews for print, online and television. Publications include CNN.com, NBC.com, the Associated Press, two half hour CSPAN interviews, the Washington Post, the NYTimes, Time magazine, the Hill, Refinery 29, Vice, Vox and others.
- Participated in summits and panels across the country, including at the Brennan Law Center at NYU and the University of Richmond Law School.
- In coordination with state activist leaders, provided on the ground support to the campaign to ratify the ERA in Virginia. Consulted with activists and legislators in the early 2019 legislative session; hosted weekly calls for those across the country who wanted to assist Virginia in its massive (and successful) get out the vote campaigns for November. Conducted a text/phone banking session from NYC for VA just before the vote.
Partnerships for Equality
In 2019, we were advisers in the New York State effort to amend its Constitution with an Expanded ERA, which includes in addition to sex, groups excluded from the state constitution. We organized calls with legislators, legal groups and activists, to work on the language of the bill. The NYS Senate passed State Senator Liz Krueger’s Expanded ERA bill by a vote of 62-0. The Assembly declined to take it up. Talks continue to introduce a comprehensive ERA in both the Senate and Assembly when the session in Albany resumes in January, 2020.
During the spring semester at Hunter College the Coalition team engaged with Grove Fellows based at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, leading a seminar on the Constitution, and planning with them the Third Annual Campus ERA Day. This year more than 22 campuses across the country participated in our virtual meet-up that included guests Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, ERA Coalition Legal Task Force Chair Linda Coberly, activist and actor Patricia Arquette, and actor and playwright Heidi Schreck of What the Constitution Means to Me.
Additionally, as part of our public education portfolio, we hosted two benefit performances of What the Constitution Means to Me, one on Broadway and the other at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and a special screening of Home Truth, the Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) Story, about her Supreme Court case.
It has been a great year. We thank you for your support–and hope that you will make a donation to the ERA Coalition so that we can continue to do this work. The ERA Coalition is a 501(c)4, donations are non-deductible. Please also consider a contribution to our sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, a 501c3 organization that focuses on outreach and public education on the need for constitutional equality. Contributions to the Fund for Women’s Equality are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.
Happy Holidays from the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality Team:
Jessica Neuwirth, Co-Founder/Co-President
Carol Jenkins, CEO/Co-President
Bettina Hager, COO/ DC Director