At RATIFY ERA-NC’s recent statewide conference, “The ERA: Alive and Kicking,” in Raleigh, women (and one male ally) from across the state gathered to hear keynote speaker Ellie Kinnaird discuss the amendment’s history, our current three-state strategy, and congressional legislation to eliminate the deadline for ratification. Former state Senator Kinnaird mentioned that NC had failed to ratify the ERA in the 1970s by only one vote. She noted that the 14th amendment speaks specifically of males and that sex discrimination cases, unlike race discrimination lawsuits, have been interpreted by the Supreme Court using intermediate scrutiny, rather than strict scrutiny. Men file 40 percent of sex bias cases in the Supreme Court, she noted. Also on the program:
• Roberta Madden, RATIFY ERA-NC co-director, provided an update on current activity in Congress and several states. She said United4Equality, a Washington-based coalition, is leading the effort to remove the deadline. RATIFY ERA-NC is working to recruit cosponsors in Congress for Senate Joint Resolution 15 and House Joint Resolution 113. The Senate measure will come up for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee in September.
• Anna Stearns, an ERA team leader, presented a workshop on digital community organizing, which included information on Facebook, Twitter, and NationBuilder—tools with great potential for distributing our message to a wide audience.
• Gailya Paliga, president of NC Now, facilitated a session on how to be a grassroots lobbyist. She provided 10 reasons to lobby for your cause and tips for effective lobbying.
• Madden offered information on writing a letter to the editor or guest editorial (op-ed). Participants drafted letters to the editor, which they plan to refine and then send to newspapers in their area.
• Varnell Kinnin, chair of the event, led an icebreaker, provided prizes and tote bags, and kept the full agenda moving.
• Michelle Evans co-chair, helped organize the conference and baked a delicious lemon cake for the informal luncheon. Kudos to Varnell and Michelle for an informative, action-packed day devoted to the ERA.
Thanks also to Barbara Bozeman for providing these photos.