We hope you’re sitting down and have a minute because there has been a LOT going on! EQUAL MEANS EQUAL and the ERA are in the headlines, making headway, and just getting warmed up. Here’s a brief recap of the last two weeks:
- Several videos that have gone viral
- A searchable ERA event calendar in the Action Hub
- Amazing new Art T-shirts
- Articles in Rolling Stone, the L.A. Times and an appearance on NBC news!
Let’s start with West Hollywood Pride, where EQUAL MEANS EQUAL had a great spot for the two-day street festival, and were able to make great strides in connecting with the LGBTQ community and educating the public on how the ERA protects all people from sex/gender discrimination.
Alice Crenshaw, the Glitter Tornado and Jesus Hernandez Rangel get EME ready for Pride!
EME President Kamala Lopez takes it to the street and interrupts the Pride Parade to get the word out —
Biden, Publish the ERA!
Unfortunately, however, EME experienced the precise problem of gendered discrimination firsthand when two of our local volunteers, Xodiac Rose & Abby Thomas, were violently tackled to the ground by a pack of officers from the LASD (Los Angeles Sheriffs Department) with no warning and taken to jail for, what turned out to be, no reason but vindictive discrimination based on who they were (LGBTQ equality activists). But to start at the beginning…
When we do on-the-ground events, we always reach out to allied local organizers and activists to join us and volunteer for the event. Abby and Xodiak from Resistance Coalition LA joined us bright and early Saturday June 3rd to help with the booth and pass out reproductive health supplies to the attendees.
EME Arts Liaison, Natily Gonzalez, and EME Producer, Joel Marshall, help out in the booth during Pride
EME’s postcards and materials were a big hit! Xodiac Rose hangs out in the EME Booth
before the beginning of Pride
Jennifer Charbonneau and her daughter Camryn get ready to help EME educate the LGBTQ community on the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment to their struggle
for human rights, dignity, and legal protections.
The morning was busy but uneventful with folks setting up their booths and officers strolling by in pairs; until shortly after 11:30 am when a pair of Sheriffs deputies walked by our LibERAtor sign and laughed.
Xodiac responded by saying, “This is why we don’t like cops at Pride. Stop laughing at our sh*t.” The officers moved on without incident and everyone returned to last minute preparations, which for us was sign making.
Xodiac Rose and Abby Thomas make signs for the EME booth at Pride in West Hollywood
Less than five minutes later, a squad of officers snuck up on Xodiak Rose from behind and tackled them to the ground without any warning whatsoever, or even announcing their presence. Abby Thomas moved in to ask what was going on and was also tackled to the ground with such force that her backpack flew over her head and her earring was ripped from her ear. Onlookers stood by horrified, demanding answers, while Alice Crenshaw, EME’s Glitter Tornado, picked up the sharpies and paintbrushes that went flying when our volunteers were attacked.
After dragging Xodiak off as they protested loudly that they had done nothing wrong, the police countered to us that they had a warrant (see the Rolling Stone article for full details). Assuring us that Abby was not under arrest, just being cited and it was “protocol” to take her to the station for a few minutes to give her a ticket, we sent another one of EME’s volunteers, Jesus Hernandez Rangel, as an escort.
The reality was that Abby was in fact being arrested for “obstructing an arrest” which multiple onlookers testified did not happen. If not for West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne stepping in to demand that she be released on her own recognizance, Abby would have remained in jail over the entire weekend.
As for Xodiak, the LASD kept changing the terms of their release; setting bail then revoking it after bail was made, moving them to various different facilities and even putting them in with the general population although there was clear reason to fear for their safety and clear policy to keep them in a particular unit designated for Trans people.
Ultimately Xodiac was kept for four days, despite the fact that “warrant” was based on falsely evidence that the LASD knew was false when they executed it.
It took a press conference outside the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles and enormous pressure from organizations like the ACLU of Southern California, Justice L.A., and Check the Sheriff joining with us to finally secure their release.
Both of these equality warriors are at home resting, receiving medical attention, and preparing for their court dates next month.You can catch all the details and much of the action exactly as it happened on our YouTube channel and go deeper into the story with the Rolling Stone.
Here is an excerpt from the LA Times article by Hailey Branson-Potts:
At WeHo Pride last weekend, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested two volunteers at a booth for Equal Means Equal, a nonprofit that pushes for the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A video posted to Twitter shows at least six uniformed deputies wrestling LGBTQ+ activist Xodiac Rose and their friend Abby Thomas to the pavement.
“At Pride, oh, my God!” a bystander shouted.
“This is what we mean!” Rose, 25, screamed as they were being handcuffed. A deputy, Rose yelled, “was being homophobic” and laughing at signs at the booth.”
Next it was back to the East Coast for the second hearing in Washington D.C. Superior Court for our field organizer and resident agitator, Elizabeth Croydon’s, showdown during the Senate vote on the ERA.
Elizabeth Croydon, center, with supporters outside the DC Courthouse
She, too, will have to go back to court next month, on charges so ridiculous it literally steamed up her lawyer’s glasses! The prosecution, demanded yet again that Ms. Croydon plead guilty to all counts, including unlawful entry; something which she most certainly did NOT do. Elizabeth entered the Capitol with a Senate gallery pass in her hand and checked her bag; she had every legal right to be there.
We weren’t the only ones who didn’t take kindly to this lousy offer though, the judge herself went on the record asking why the government was trying to force peaceful activists into taking guilty pleas? They didn’t have an answer for her. They now have until July 24 to find one.
EQUAL MEANS EQUAL is working with Elizabeth on a Comedy Special/Fundraiser in New York City, tentatively scheduled for Women’s Equality Day, August 26th – save the date!
Courtrooms aren’t the only places we’re visiting this summer! EQUAL MEANS EQUAL will be at multiple events including:
- The National NOW Conference in Arlington, Virginia June 30th through July 2nd
- The ERA Centennial Convention at the historic 175th anniversary of Seneca Falls on July 21st & 22nd. Hosted by our friends at Generation Ratify this event will bring together equality warriors of all ages from around the country with workshops, speakers, strategy sessions, and more.
Looking for a little good trouble yourself this summer? Check out our new searchable calendar for an ERA party near you! If you are hosting or know of an equality event submit it with just a few clicks and we’ll be sure to add it.
A huge part of the work we do is connecting you with each other, no matter if you live in a tiny town or a bustling metropolis, just go to the Action Hub, click the rainbow colored event tab and join the party!
Criss-crossing the country for equality, showing up in court, and redoing the website isn’t all we’ve been up to; we’ve got a brand new line of shirts we are excited to share with you.
We partnered with a minority, woman-owned small business, WOW Closet, whose Nadia Alonso uses only quality materials and methods AND pays all her workers a fair and living wage in Mexico.
Our LibERAtor tees sparkle and shine, Natalie White’s iconic “Don’t Tread on Me” piece lights up the night with glow-in-the-dark accents, and get ready for the Centennial with your limited edition ERA 100 shirt!
Check them out here:
Thanks, as always, for your support – we have been working for the ERA since 2009 and are proud to have been on the ground working to secure the final three states needed to ratify the ERA (Nevada, Illinois & Virginia). Now that we have overcome that hurdle, and the amendment is fully ratified, we will not stop until ERA is published, adopted and enforced because EQUAL MEANS EQUAL.
With love and thanks,
Kamala, Natalie, Alice and the entire EQUAL MEANS EQUAL Team.