November 28, 2019

Future Path of Least Resistance for Adding ERA to Constitution in 2020

By Kamala, Natalie and the entire EME Team

Happy Thanksgiving! We truly have so much to be grateful for this year.

Listen to this exciting radio show, Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI, in which EQUAL MEANS EQUAL’s Executive Director, Kamala Lopez spoke about the ERA in context of its long history and the struggle around it as well as what would be gained by its passage.

Below is our recent press release detailing our plan moving forward.

AFTER ELECTION, NEW PHASE IN FIGHT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Equal Means Equal Lays Out Future Path of Least Resistance for Adding ERA to Constitution

WASHINGTON — Leading human rights group Equal Means Equal reached a major milestone towards its ultimate goal of completing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment after spearheading an unprecedented victory in a key Virginia house race that flipped the General Assembly majority from Republican to Democrat.

“We can finally see the finish line,” said Kamala Lopez, Executive Director and Founder of Equal Means Equal.

Equal Means Equal spent the past four years targeting Virginia on behalf of American women, frankly to no avail, given the anti-equality, undemocratic leadership that has been in control of the House of Delegates for 27 years.

“This year, after our Valentine’s Day ‘Die-In’ failed to force a vote, our strategy shifted. We decide to just get rid of the anti-ERA leadership instead of continuing to attempt to negotiate with them for basic equality,” Lopez explained. “We moved our team to a key district (76) and targeted Del. Chris Jones, the second most powerful Republican in the House and a 21-year incumbent.”

Last week, Jones lost to challenger Clint Jenkins (D-Suffolk).

“The effort paid off big time,” said the group’s Vice-President and Co-Director Natalie White. “Virginia turned blue and now there’s a clear and direct path to complete ERA ratification in January of 2020.”

Lopez, a filmmaker who directed and produced the critically acclaimed documentary “Equal Means Equal,” said the key to victory was using community outreach, education and media around ERA to build an alliance with a diverse cross-section of stakeholders.

“Sex discrimination affects all Americans, particularly economically,” Lopez said. “The coalition Equal Means Equal built in support of ERA in Virginia included African-Americans, Latinx, LGBTQ+, millennials and many white male allies. All heard the call of equality in Virginia.”

The incoming Democratic leadership in Virginia has already indicated the ratification is a top priority once the legislature convenes on Jan. 8, 2020. When the vote is taken, Virginia will make history by becoming the 38th and final state needed to complete the ratification of the ERA.

“We thank our partners and supporters from the bottom of our hearts for fighting a very tough campaign with us,” Lopez said. “Please remember, however, that our task is not yet completed.”

Equal Means Equal has been instrumental on the ground over the past several years, educating, hosting screenings, campaigning and lobbying in many of the unratified states. Their work has been successful in achieving ERA ratification in Nevada, Illinois and now Virginia, the three final states needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. As this phase of the ratification process comes to an end, the organization now is gearing up for an anticipated court fight to ensure the ERA remains in the Constitution.

“Article V of the Constitution is extremely clear that once the Congress votes to ratify an amendment (as it did in 1972 with ERA) the power shifts to the states. Once two thirds of those states also ratify the amendment, it is adopted. We must be careful not to take actions that could bolster the case for opponents of the ERA once it’s in the courts,” Lopez warned.

White added, “No personal sacrifice has been too much to make certain this cause will succeed. Rallies, arrests and a winning strategy is what finally pushed each of the three states to bring the ERA to the floor for a vote. We are fully prepared to protect the ERA in the courts with the same level of intensity and commitment.”

Equal Means Equal commends House Democrats for signaling their support for the cause in the aftermath of the Virginia elections last week but further action from Congress is not required to complete the amendment process.

“With the Virginia election results we are finally poised to provide all Americans with equal rights regardless of sex, almost exactly a century after suffrage,” Lopez said. “Hopefully implementing basic equality will happen with more alacrity.”

On this Giving Tuesday, will you help us raise funds to finish this century long unfinished business?

$15 — Sends 3 Legalize Equality DVDs to select crucial delegates

$25 — Provides 100 Educational Handouts about ERA to High Schools and Universities

$50 — Sponsors one day of social media feed awareness

$75 — Provides Rally Sign, T-shirt and stickers to interns at campaign events

$100 — Supports one digital twitter ad

$250 — Allows our documentary crew to help follow us, capturing what’s going on in real time

$500 — Funds our call center crew to organize the grassroots to participate in vital ERA actions

$1,000 — Mobilizes a bus to drive our volunteers, students and activists to an event or rally.

This holiday season, please buy our Virginia 38 Football Jerseys, iScream4 Equality Tshirts, Legalize Equality DVDs and ERA Coasters to help us fund the fight in Virginia in January of 2020.

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And now for something sweet: here are some cute pictures of Thila’s baby. ☺

Love and thanks,

Kamala, Natalie and the entire EME Team