January 14, 2020

Equal Means Equal is clearing the Path to Final Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

By Kamala, Natalie, and the EME Team

It’s been an amazing few days. Equal Means Equal is in the thick of the fight again, and we wanted to share all the big happenings with you.

Our latest endeavour to see the Equal Rights Amendment become the 28th amendment to the Constitution began on January 7th. The team convened in Boston that day to lay the cornerstone of Equal Means Equal’s core mission, ensuring ratification of the ERA, by filing suit against the federal government in U.S. District Court in Boston.

I’m sure you knew that the Alabama AG filed a “repugnant”* lawsuit to stop the archivist of the United States from recording Virginia upon its ratification? Obviously, we could not let that stand so we responded quickly and forcefully in legal opposition to that stance.

Along with Yellow Roses, a Middle School group founded by young girls who wanted to advocate for the amendment, and Katherine Weitbrecht, an assault victim whose rights were denied because there was no Equal Rights Amendment to protect her, Equal Means Equal filed a multi-count lawsuit necessary to ensure ERA becomes the latest addition to the Constitution – the 28th Amendment.

And people noticed.

News reports from our announcement at Boston Law School appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, AP, Bloomberg and just about everywhere else. It was one of the biggest news days for the ERA since our victory in Virginia in the November 2019 elections (as you know, we were there for that too!).

You know who else noticed? The United States Department of Justice, which released an opinion a day later, declared the ERA ratification process null and void. (Ummm…. What? Drink your own Koolaid much?  See you in court, Barr Buddies….)

Now people understand why filing our lawsuit was central to final ratification of ERA.The Justice Department‘s opinion is just that, an opinion (and remember what they say about those), but it did give us a window into their thinking.  And it validated what we suspected all along: the Trump administration is no friend of equal rights for women. Thanks for making that crystal clear – we can now officially let go of any illusions we may have been holding onto that the Grabber would let us grab back some rights.

They played right into our hands, as we expected they would and now the battlefield ahead is coming into sharp focus.

We’re certainly not going to allow Attorney General William Barr to tell us that we can’t have equal rights. The media noticed that announcement out of the Justice Department, too, and then ended up giving Equal Means Equal another day of coverage for our lawsuit.

We are making progress here, but the cost of supporting our effort is high. We need your help. It’s tough to ask after the holidays, but we have choice. We are up against the administration and a well-funded and highly organized anti-ERA opposition that will stop at nothing to see the ERA go down in flames.

The 28 on the back of the hoodie represents ERA – which will become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution upon the ERA upon ratification!

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Our travels didn’t end in Boston, by the way. Just hours after our successful news conference announcing the lawsuit, the team was back on a plane and headed to Richmond for the convening of the General Assembly on January 8th.

We have returned to the scene of our election victory to ensure lawmakers keep their word and ratify the ERA. We are attending rallies, standing daily vigil, talking to lawmakers, recruiting volunteers and just about anything we can think of here in Richmond to get the General Assembly to ratify ASAP. As Natalie says, we will be here on watch in Richmond until the ERA is ratified or we freeze to death.

We had a successful vote out of the Senate P & E subcommittee on Thursday, but we can’t take anything for granted. There are dark forces at work behind the scenes trying to upend our mission and the future rights of American women. It’s been that way every time equal rights are in play. As sad as it is to admit, there really are people in our society who do not want to extend equality to anyone.

It only makes us more determined to succeed. 😉

We cannot do it without you, however. We have entered a new phase of our fight, one that may be long, and will definitely be complicated and full of unexpected twists.

Our efforts, and those of our seasoned volunteers, require transportation, housing, supplies and other tools necessary to run a national advocacy campaign. The cost of supporting our legal strategy also requires resources that we will need to keep us competitive and ahead of our opposition. We are thankful for anything you can give to help us keep up the fight. We promise you we will stay on the front lines until we can truly say, equal means equal.

With love and thanks,

Kamala Lopez, President

Natalie White, Vice President

Equal Means Equal

PS: for every contribution of $500 or more we’ll send you the limited edition, handmade Equal Means Equal hoodie you see us wearing here in Richmond. If you can’t give a donation, but can come and stand vigil with us, we’ll give you one free for volunteering.

*Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said “Women in America deserve to have equality guaranteed in the Constitution. The fact that Republican attorneys general are suing to block the ERA… is absolutely repugnant.”