Media & Messaging Manual

The Equal Rights Amendment  — introduced by Alice Paul to the US Congress in 1921

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

There are TWO simultaneous EFFORTS in this campaign. Both happen FROM NOVEMBER 2014 THROUGH LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS IN 15 STATES. One: push Congress to lift the deadline for ratification. Two: push our state representatives to ratify. (Plus calling your friends and progressive associates to get them on board this bandwagon!) It sounds like a lot, but it’s way, way easier than the 10 years of actions on August 26th! This, this we can do!

1.    CONGRESS

What? : Write to insist that your Congress : Lift the deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment by supporting H.J. Res. 43 (House) and S.J. Res. 15 (Senate). Suggest they talk about deadline removal with their colleagues in their caucus, across the aisle, and in the other house.

** These are 2014’s bill numbers. Update coming soon!!

Sign-up here to get reminded!

Why? : The deadline is arbitrary and irregular, and — frankly — sexist in the most obvious way. It can also be lifted at any time. Article V of the Constitution, supported by SCOTUS decisions in Dillon v. Gloss and Coleman v. Miller, gives Congress broad powers over the amendment process. No other amendment that did not name a deadline in its text has been appointed a deadline in this way. Therefore, enforcing the deadline on the ERA is both capricious and discriminatory. Lifting the deadline is the only option supported by precedent. After all, the 27th Amendment took 203 years to be ratified. Virginia’s women voters and progressive organizations will remember members’ efforts when they run for re-election. (Source: CRS 2013 Summary, The Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: Contemporary Ratification Issues, Thomas H. Neale.)

How? :  Click a seal for the member directory you need.

Senate                                 House of Representatives

TIPS FOR YOUR EMAILS

**Remember to include your postal address with your signature to emails.
** We suggest that you remind yourself to email them several times.
** Please use your own words as much as possible. Unique efforts count more heavily.
** You might also list the civic or political organizations where you are a member.

The ERA would, quite simply, provide the Constitutional bedrock needed to insure the permanence of rights now only tentatively afforded to women by a patchwork of laws at the state and federal levels. As we have seen with recent actions restricting concerning voting rights, the “rights” afforded in mere acts and laws are not secure.

 2.   VIRGINIA’S HOUSE OF DELEGATES 

House of Delegates

In the legislative session of 2014, Virginia’s Senate approved a bill to ratify the ERA. The House, however, sent the ratification bill to the Governance Committee to be seen and heard never again. Changing this death knell to a peal of hallelujah is our goal.

To contact Delegates, click the seal.

For ideas of what to say, keep reading!

  *** HERE’S THE TWIST ***

  • We do not ask you to contact only your own delegate.
  • We want you to CONTACT ALL OF THEM, a few at a time — often. We’ll send you reminder emails with contact info, suggested text, etc. SIGN UP HERE FOR REMINDER EMAILS!!!
  • Beginning Nov 5, 2014 and continuing right through the legislative session in 2015 (Jan 14 to Feb 12).

The main message is this: Bring the ERA to the floor for a public vote! Do not hide it away in a subcommittee of the Privileges and Elections Committee to be killed in secret. Stand with women, or against them, but stand by your vote.

The 2015 bill number for the Virginia Senate is SJ216, chief patron is Sen. Ebbin, and copatron is Sen. Dance.

It has been referred to the P&E Committee (scroll down for how to contact them).

In the House of Delegates,  the bill number is HJ495, Delegates Surovell and Hope are the patrons.

The bill is referred the P&E Committee (scroll down for how to contact them).

Virginia’s Delegates need to hear from hundreds and hundreds of citizens from all over the state. Ask your friends to contact them too. This way, they can’t possibly think that a few die-hards in their district just don’t know how to let go. This way, they’ll know we are many, we come from many backgrounds, belong to many organizations, and HAVE LONG MEMORIES.

Committees of Interest
in VA General Assembly

To email the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee and ask them to move forward on ratification of the ERA, SJ216, here’s the email addresses and a sample text:

Copy this list into your To line:

“Jill Holtzman Vogel” <district27@senate.virginia.gov >,

“Bill Carrico” <district40@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Creigh Deeds” <district25@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Janet Howell” <district32@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Steve Martin” <district11@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Mark Obenshain” <district26@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Bryce Reeves” <district17@senate.virginia.gov>,
“John Edwards” <district21@senate.virginia.gov>,
“A. Donald McEachin”  <district09@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Ralph K. Smith” <district19@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Thomas Garrett” <district22@senate.virginia.gov>,
“Kenneth Alexander” <district05@senate.virginia.gov>,
“John Miller” <district01@senate.virginia.gov>,
”John Cosgrove” <district14@senate.virginia.gov>,

“Rosalyn Dance” <district16@senate.virginia.gov>

More contact and info and social media for Senate P&E here. Click their names, then their website link … and so on!!Sample Text:

Dear Chairperson Vogel and Honorable Members of the Committee,

I write to urge you to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in 2015 (SJ216). The Equal Rights Amendment is a civil rights and economics issue for all women and communities in Virginia and the nation. I ask that you encourage and support your colleagues in the Senate and especially the House of the Delegates to bring the ERA to the floor for a public and affirmative vote for ratification. Work progresses to lift the arbitrary deadline in the US Congress. Let Virginia be a proud leader for civil rights and economic stability in the 21st Century.

It’s time.

With my thanks for your service,

Your Name

Your Address

To email the House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee and encourage the ERA be moved to the floor for a proper and public vote, here’s the email addresses, and a sample text.

Copy this list  into your To line:

“Mark Cole” <DelMCole@house.virginia.gov>,
“Dave Albo” <DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov>,
“Buddy Fowler” <DelBFowler@house.virginia.gov>,
“Mike Futrell” <DelMFutrell@house.virginia.gov>,
“Riley Ingram” <DelRIngram@house.virginia.gov>,
“Chris Jones” <DelCJones@house.virginia.gov>,
“Rob Krupicka” <DelRKrupicka@house.virginia.gov>,
“Steve Landes” <delslandes@house.virginia.gov>,
“Jackson Miller” <DelJMiller@house.virginia.gov>,
“Randy Minchew” <DelRMinchew@house.virginia.gov>,
“Israel O’Quinn” <DelIOQuinn@house.virginia.gov>,
“John O’Bannon” <DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov>,
“David Ramadan” <DelDRamadan@house.virginia.gov>,
“Margaret Ransone” <DelMRansone@house.virginia.gov>,
“Sam Rasoul” <DelSRasoul@house.virginia.gov>,
“Nick Rush” <DelNRush@house.virginia.gov>,
“Mark Sickles” <DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov>,
“Joseph Yost” <DelJYost@house.virginia.gov>,
“Timothy Hugo” <DelTHugo@house.virginia.gov>,
“Johnny Joannou” <DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov>,
“Mark Sickles” <DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov>,
“Joseph Lindsey” <DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov>,

“Kathleen Murphy,” <delkmurphy@house.virginia.gov>

Dear Chairperson Cole and Honorable Delegates,

I write to insist that you bring the ERA to the floor  (HJ495) for a public vote! Do not hide it away in a subcommittee of the Privileges and Elections Committee to be killed in secret. Stand with women, or against them, but stand by your vote. The Equal Rights Amendment is a civil rights and economics issue for all women and communities in Virginia and the nation. Your positions, and those of the whole House of Delegates should be made proudly clear to all. Bring the ERA to the floor and vote to ratify. Work progresses to lift the arbitrary deadline in the US Congress. Let Virginia be a proud leader for civil rights and economic stability in the 21st Century.

It’s time.

With my thanks for your service,

Your Name
Your Address

 Additional Facts to Share

 The ERA Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations has the mother-load of arguments and rebuttals. Each FAQ is a link. Most of what’s below, we’ve cribbed from their amazing work.

Virginia NOW’s own Virginia ERA Network offers some terrific talking points for you to borrow and adapt in emails, letters, phone calls, etc.

Women Matter have some great arguments listed on their site, just scroll down the homepage a little way.

  •  The ERA would, quite simply, provide the Constitutional bedrock needed to insure the permanence of rights now only tentatively afforded to women by a patchwork of laws at the state and federal levels. As we have seen with recent actions restricting concerning voting rights, the “rights” afforded in mere acts and laws are not secure, and can be repealed or ignored. (See ERA Task Force)
  • The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, often cited as a reason not to pass the ERA because it provides equality, thus making the ERA no longer necessary (and one that Virginian legislators often point to), is not valid for several reasons: Section 2 of the 14th Amendment specifically includes the wording male citizen and male inhabitant 3 times and is very gender specific in its applicability to males; if it was intended to cover females, then the 19th Amendment would not have been necessary to give females the right to vote, for the 14th Amendment did not give females that right. (Richmond NOW)
  •  Some state reps want Congress to act first before considering it at the state level. Point out that this creates a Catch 22 log jam that leaves women’s equality in legal purgatory. While many in the U.S. Congress and Senate (including Warner and Kaine) have signed onto bills calling for removal of the ratification deadline imposed in 1982, others feel a freshly ratified state is needed before taking action. Virginia would be a beacon for the nation if we took leadership on this important bipartisan, economic, and civil rights issue. (Richmond NOW)
  • The ERA does not make new law. It only reinforces laws, ordinances, statutes, and amendments in state constitutions that are overlooked, ignored, or misinterpreted now — such as the Equal Pay Act, 1963 and its more recent reiterations. Indeed, Congress would no longer have to revisit the matter fair pay or its methods of enforcement. (See Virginia ERA Network)
  • It costs nothing to ratify, or to implement. (See Virginia ERA Network)
  • It saves taxpayer dollars and reduces the number of civil lawsuits in the courts. If equal treatment and equal pay are foregone conclusions, protected to the same strong degree as race, religion, and national origin. (See Virginia ERA Network)
  • The ERA is good for families and the general welfare. Countries have noted a positive sociological effect wherever sexual equality is the standard. Studies show that: (1) rates of emotional depression decline, (2) divorce rates decline, families stabilize, (3) marital harmony increases, (4) communities gain cohesiveness, (5) economies grow (UN; Norway/ Sweden report). (See Virginia ERA Network)
  • It’s just the right thing to do. It’s embarrassing that every constitution written since the end of WWII includes women’s full equality, but ours does not. It’s embarrassing that women in the US struggle, at great personal and financial cost, to access rights and privileges that simply happen for women in other major industrialized nations. We lose all that energy and talent as it dissipates into the fog of social and economic insecurity.
  • Women’s and progressive organizations are mobilizing around the ERA. We will remember, and hopefully reward, the actions you take to secure ratification.

WHY DO I NEED TO USE MY OWN WORDS?

Simple. Politicians have stopped counting mass emails and most online petitions as coming from each person/signature, but as only ONE opinion. So 3,000 identical emails equal 1 voice. Original work, personal writing, these are counted in the old way: One real person equals between 100 and 1000 other voters who agree with them. So, put these (and other points on those sites) in your own words!!!

SIGN UP HERE FOR REMINDER EMAILS FOR THE ERA!!

IS THAT ALL?

If you have a few more keystrokes in your fingers, consider using this messaging guide to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Tell your whole community why you support the ERA, tell them about Helene’s pilgrimage. Get your community energized!

  •  How to write a letter to the editor: click here.
  • All the Virginia local papers, and then some: click here.

To tweet the House: @VaHouse.
To tweet the House GOP: @vahousegop.
To tweet the Hosue Dems: @VAHouseDems

To tweet the Senate:@VASenate
To tweet the Senate GOP:@VASenateGOP
To tweet the Senate Dems: @VASenateDems

Sample Tweets:
To GOP
#RatifyERA to floor. No hidden votes on civil rights. #Equality #VA4ERA
#RatifyERA is civil rights, family income and stability issue. No hidden votes. #WeDemandERA
HJ495 to the floor in 2015. No hidden votes on #civilrights issues! Stand by your vote. Stand by women!
SJ216 to the floor in 2015. No hidden votes on #civilrights issues. Stand by your vote. #LetsRatifyERA #VANOW
To Dems
Support and vote for HJ495, encourage colleagues. #CivilRights for women cannot wait another year! #WeDemandERA #VA4ERA Thank you!
#EqualRightsAmendment is income equality, civil rights, family stability. Tell your collegeagues to join you to #RatifyERA! Thank you!
Support & vote for SJ216, encourage colleagues. #CivilRights for women cannot wait another year! #LetsRatifyERA #VANOW Many thanks!
#14thAmendment does not cover ♀  #EqualRightsAmendment extends 14th to ♀ . Plz inform colleagues. Vote to #RatifyERA! Our thanks!

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

KATRINA’S DREAM BUILDING COALITIONS ACROSS STATES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Katrina’s Dream and its heart in Helene de Boissier-Swanson excite us on many levels. First of all, she’s walking a long and winding road across the 15 the unratified states to build grassroots support and organizational coalitions to get that deadline lifted and get ALL WOMEN a permanent place in our Constitution. In one way or another, many feminist and religious organizations are working with Katrina’s Dream. Helene will be in Virginia in April of 2015, and will personally lobby several members of the General Assembly and the Congress. We will be with her.

Virginia NOW is proud to stand with We Are Woman, Women Matter, Unite Women VA, Progressive Democrats VA, NOW, Feminist Majority Foundation, and other organizations as we support Helene’s efforts and prepare for her arrival. (The whole, and growing, coalition is listed on the right, there.)

Helene and Katrina’s Dream are starting phone trees. They’re asking each of us to call 10 friends and get them involved. Jump in! Helene will arrive in VA late in her pilgrimage, and our legislative session convenes on Jan 14, 2015 and adjourns on Feb 12, 2015. We must get in gear well before then and well in advance of Helene’s arrival. She’s headed to DC, with petitions, with a lobbying plan, and to participate in the March 8, 2015 International Women’s Day &  ERA Rally on the Mall!

And thanks! Thanks a million for your support of VA NOW and your local chapters over the years. Thanks for all the work you do for women and as a woman every day. Thanks for being members of all these other fantastic organizations, and for all you do all kinds of women across America. Thanks for your efforts now for the ERA! It’s because of you that we in VA NOW and all our local chapters are able to do this vital work — we feel your energy, your support. Thanks for that too!

Let ours be the last generation to fight this fight!!!!

The Virginia State Chapter of the National Organization for Women

VA_NOW_Logo_Final_BlueRed

Simone and Paradise gratefully thank Diana Egozcue for building Virginia ERA Network, and for her tireless work for equality over the years!
We also humbly thank Bobbie Frances for co-chairing the ERA Taskforce for all these years and keeping that research solid and current!

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