May 27, 2020

Join us This Thursday for an Important ERA Webinar

We have all felt the grip of the indiscriminate Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting economic fallout. Some of us will never be the same; some of us will be a bit stronger; none of us hope to ever to see anything like the coronavirus again.

Too many of us have felt the crush of lost jobs, shop doors locked and entertainment and recreational activities suspended. All of us hope this will pass and we will rebuild and recover. This is a fight we cannot lose.

It’s in that spirit that we have sought during this period to devote time to ensuring we do not give back the modest gains we have made in combatting inequality, injustice and those who trample on our pursuit of happiness.

EME’s Rachel Donlan and Natalie White

We all have examples of the increased burden coronavirus has put on women. Moms, daughters, grandmothers and sisters have been the glue that binds together families and households, from easing the shift away from the workplace and creating home daycare (with homeschooling and healthcare added to the list of duties), to learning how to shop creatively and defensively for our families and neighbors. Many of us have had to do all that while trying to still doing our day jobs remotely.

It has been a climb at times to maintain our fight for equality, but we are closer than we have even been to the Equal Rights Amendment becoming the 28th amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Our organization has used all available means to let the obstructionists and naysayers know we remain engaged in the fight for ERA. As all of us re-emerge from isolation, the battle lines remain drawn: we are fighting in federal court for final adoption of the ERA, and the Trump administration is blocking its certification.

This excerpt from Laura Cassels’ excellent recent article addresses how the current administration is attempting continue block ERA, even though 38 states have now ratified the measure.

Battle in Boston

On April 14, federal authorities filed a motion urging Judge Casper to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Equal Means Equal and its co-plaintiffs.

In the motion to dismiss, Ferreiro, the federal archivist, contends that “the political branches,” not he nor the courts, should sort out the rules enabling voters to amend their Constitution.

His motion says: “Plaintiffs [Equal Means Equal and its co-plaintiffs] ask this court to declare that a deadline established by a supermajority of Congress for the ratification of a constitutional amendment is invalid, and to mandate that the archivist certify the amendment as valid notwithstanding that deadline and the objection of states that have sought to rescind their prior authorizations. But these two issues are best left to the political branches to resolve.”

The motion does not address why the deadline should cause Virginia’s ratification documents to be rejected, while the post-deadline ratifications by Illinois and Nevada were received and recorded with little fanfare. It simply cites the Department of Justice directive and explains that the federal archivist has no authority to overrule the DOJ.

Motions by Equal Means Equal argue that states voted on the amendment itself, not on the deadline, and were free to ratify it at their own chosen pace.

The organization notes that previous amendments have had deadlines attached and others have not, leaving a question for the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether deadlines apply to voters’ rights to amend their Constitution.

You can read the full article here: Trump and GOP continue to block adoption of ERA; equal-rights allies dig in for another long fight

Kamala recently participated via streaming in former Sen. Russ Feingold’s Constitutional Law Class at Stanford University, where his students held a mock ERA case before the Supreme Court. It had a fantastic outcome! 

We were pleased that pro-ERA student litigators won by a wide margin by using our principal arguments. Kamala engaged with the law students that successfully built the pro-ERA case, welcoming their research and strategy to buttress our own case niow in the courts. And congratulations to Sen. Feingold, who recently became president of the American Constitution Society, a staunch proponent of the ERA as you can see from his latest article on the topic: On the Path to Gender Equality: From the 19th Amendment to the ERA

For weeks now, along with committed and passionate allies in the women’s movement, we have used the mini-series Mrs. America to explore how the modern ERA movement ignited in the 1970s, flamed out in the 1980’s and was resurrected this decade. Although conceived by veterans of the women’s movement, the five-part educational webinar series, titled “Rethinking Sisterhood: The Role of Media in Affirming the ERA,” is thankfully introducing a new generation of activists to the ERA.

These leaders of tomorrow who are stepping up today are attuned to the frustration of having an issue that is supported by a majority of Americans perpetually routinely given short-shift by the corporate news and entertainment media. Stereotyping, misinformation and apathy on the part of media institutions stunt the growth in support for ERA the past few years. The webinar continues live every Thursday through June 4th.

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This week’s webinar, “Making Inequality Visible, the Fight for ERA, and Title IX”, the fourth in a five-part series, explores how mainstream media is often a tool of deliberate information manipulation and control. The three speakers, Nevada State Senator Patricia Spearman, Equal Means Equal’s President Kamala Lopez and Equal Means Equal’s Legal Counsel Wendy Murphy, all have been active in recent years in ensuring passage of the ERA. It promises to be a highly informed discussion about the necessity of the ERA and the current legal hurdles it still must confront.

Patricia Spearman is a state senator in Nevada. An American cleric and a veteran, she has been a leader on LGBTQ Rights, Economic Development, Veterans Affairs and Health Care. In 2017 she led Nevada’s effort to be the 36th state to pass the ERA.    

Kamala Lopez, is a filmmaker, actress and activist, is founder & president of the pro-ERA organization Equal Means Equal, the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to protect ratification of ERA. Ms. Lopez directed and starred in the 2016 documentary, Equal Means Equal, and has since organized and shepherded the successful campaign to get the last three states needed, Nevada, Illinois and Virginia, to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Wendy Murphy, JD, is adjunct professor of sexual violence law at New England Law/Boston. An impact litigator, her work in state and federal courts around the country has changed the law to improve protections for women’s and children’s constitutional rights.

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The cononavirus pandemic has been tough on all of us, but we’ve managed to continue to wage a campaign to see equal rights the law of the land. It’s been a struggle to maintain day-to-day operations, but we have tried to persevere. We also expect a costly fight in the federal courts. Our opposition is organized, well-financed and committed to doing all in its power to block the ERA. We cannot win this fight without your help. If you are able to help out, your generosity would be greatly appreciated at this time. Equal Means Equal has prided itself on doing a lot with a little help from our friends. We could use your help to ensure our fight goes forward. As always we thank you for your support.

With love and gratitude,

EME Team

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PS: Your generous tax-deductible contributions are an investment in our results-driven organization on the front lines of the fight for equality. Any amount is greatly appreciated, but for donations of $500 or more we’ll send you our exclusive (and very popular!) handmade Equal Means Equal hoodie as a special thank you.