RESISTANCE WATCH--Back in the seventies, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a hot topic of conversation. Amidst the backdrop of the current political environment and administration, the battle has resurged, alive and kicking. 

On Sunday, March 26, at least a thousand are expected to gather in Pan Pacific Park for The Walk for Equality Southern California, a rally, walk, and call to action as part of Feminist Majority-organized rallies and fundraising walks in support of feminist equality, including the push to ratify the ERA. 

I sat down with Katherine Spillar, Director of The Feminist Majority Foundation, to discuss Sunday’s event, the history of the ERA and why the amendment is at a crucial turning point. 

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was created to develop bold, new strategies and programs to advance women's equality, non-violence, economic development, and, most importantly, empowerment of women and girls in all sectors of society. All programs of the FMF endeavor to include a global perspective and activities to promote leadership development, especially among young women. Along with reproductive rights and access to reproductive technology, the FMF's programs have focused on the empowerment of women in law, business, medicine, academia, sports, and the Internet. 

The Rally and Walk: 

On March 26, feminists will gather in Los Angeles and in Palo Alto to raise funds and “build momentum for finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee full constitutional equality for women and girls. All contributions raised by the Rally & March for Equality will ensure that we have the resources to fight back and build momentum. We need to raise funds for field organizers, recruiting and training volunteers, educational materials and online organizing. -- Feminist Majority Foundation 

Check-in for the event will begin at Pan Pacific Park, rain or shine, at 8:30 am. The kickoff rally will begin at 9:30 am and the walk at 10:30 am. 

Rally speakers as of publication include: 

  • Curtis Armstrong – Actor and Producer
  • Dan Bucatinsky – Actor, 24 Legacy
  • Honorable Judy Chu – Congress member
  • Maria Elena Durazo – General Vice-President, UNITE HERE
  • Annabeth Gish – Actor and Activist
  • Wendy Greuel – Former Controller, City of Los Angeles
  • Abbe Land – Former Mayor and City Councilmember West Hollywood
  • Donna Mills – Actor & Activist
  • Emiliana Guereca – Women’s March Los Angeles Organizer
  • Frangela (a.k.a. Frances Callier & Angela Shelton) – Comedic Team
  • Jason George – actor, Grey’s Anatomy
  • Carol Ann Leif – Feminist Majority Board Member
  • Kamala Lopez – Award-winning Director “Equal Means Equal
  • Rose McGowen – Actor, Producer, Director, Singer, Charmed
  • Jill Sobule – Singer
  • Honorable Hilda Solis – Supervisor, County of Los Angeles
  • Dinah Stephens – Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County
  • Heather Thomas – Activist and Actor
  • Diana Trujillo – Team Chief, Curiosity’s Engineering Division, JPL/NASA
  • Jessica Yellin – Former CNN White House Correspondent
  • Ani Zonneveld – Muslims for Progressive Values 

Beth Cone Kramer: What are the goals of The Rally & Walk for Women’s Equality? 

Spillar: The key is coming together to demand attention and efforts to finally ratify the ERA. Women are no in the Constitution except for the 19th Amendment, the only time any rights for women are specifically guaranteed by the highest laws of our country. The Rally and Walk are to wake people up. We can fight to win final ratification that is so critical. If we had constitutional equality, we could be in a better place to stop what is happening to women’s rights issues in Congress and by the Trump Administration. All of this is even as we are fighting to keep Gorsuch off the Court. It’s one call to action to save Roe v Wade and to block Gorsuch for SCOTUS. We are fighting the effort to push back just as we must keep fighting to keep moving forward. 

BCK: Why now? 

Spillar: On March 20, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the ERA, a federal Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit sex discrimination and guarantee equal rights for women and girls. Nevada’s ratification will be finalized exactly 45 years after the US Senate approved and sent the ERA to the states. The amendment needs ratification by 38 states to pass. 

Scalia spent the last few years of his life debating Ruth Bader Ginsberg and was very clear on his reading of the Constitution that women do not have protection from sex discrimination in the Constitution. We have to get it added. 

BCK: What’s at risk if we don’t pass ERA? 

Spiller: The administration is probably going to gut women’s provisions in the health care repeal, defunding Planned Parenthood, taking away access to contraception as a guarantee in health insurance coverage. The Trump Administration intends to take away Title IX as it relates to sexual assault, no longer holding campuses accountable for sexual assault on campus or to support work to prevent sexual assault. The ERA would fight that. The rationale is that colleges and universities don’t want to be liable for lawsuits. Fraternities and sports teams are opposed to tougher environments. 

BCK: Labor Issues? 

Spillar: The Department of Labor is pulling back on enforcement of laws that deal with sex discrimination in the workplace. Judge Gorsuch (Supreme Court nominee) has lectured law students to okay asking prospective employers to ask if female applicants plan to have children. Gorsuch is an originalist, a texturalist. He has the same opinion as Scalia had -- that women’s rights are not guaranteed by the Constitution. To the framers, women were chattel. 

BCK: Protection for Women? 

Spillar: We need the ERA to be very clear about equality. If any administration proves this, it’s the Trump Administration, which is very clear about dismantling gains we have made. If we had the ERA, we’d be in a much stronger position to fight. The ERA would ensure comprehensive access to abortion and contraceptives, opposition to violence against women, equal access to educational opportunity and equal pay for equal work, as well as equal opportunities in the workplace. The ERA applies to all these areas. 

BCK: What happened to the ERA last time? 

Spillar: The ERA was passed out of Congress by a Super Majority, two-thirds of both Houses in 1972 and then, the vote went to the states. To add an amendment, three-fourths of the state legislatures must ratify -- not by referendum or initiative. In the great wisdom of a Congress that was only two percent women, they passed a time limit to have states ratify within seven years. As 1979 approached, the movement geared up massively to remove the time restriction. As of 1979, 35 of the states had ratified. We only needed two more. The time limit was extended to June of 1982. Just seven men in three states stood in the way of adding the ERA to the Constitution. By June 30, 1982, we fell three states short. 

Believing this was it, we went all out nationally to fight because of Reagan to hold on to rights like Roe v Wade; Title IX was under attack. Other laws were weakened. The movement focused on these attacks. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Movement began to consider getting these additional three states and going for the retroactive removal of the time limit. What gave us the idea was the ratification of the Madison Amendment. Two hundred years earlier, it was proposed by James Madison that Congress could not vote on its own pay raises; Congressional members could only vote for members of the next Congress. The Amendment was finally ratified 200 years after it was first proposed. 

We thought, wait a minute! We got nine years and they had 200 years plus. The whole movement was reinvigorated to remove the time limit retroactively. Carolyn Maloney put new ERA language in the House and her counterpart did the same in the Senate. We’ve been working continuously on this effort since the Suffragists first proposed an Equal Rights Amendment in the 1920s. It’s now gaining steam with Nevada as the 35th state this week. That just leaves two states. 

The United States is one of the only modern democracies that does not have constitutional guarantees for women. We are way behind on constitutional equality. If we have a stronger movement here, then our sisters around the world will have stronger partners for advocating for full equality and for fundamental rights. 

If everyone steps up, we are one foot closer to rally and sign up. The call to action issued on Sunday will be about the SCOTUS but there are so many fights. We need a SCOTUS that will support and not ignore the ERA. The two are very intertwined. 

NEED TO KNOW

 

(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.)

-cw 

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW-In Text Box: #ResistMarch (Christopher Street West) will replace this year’s LA Pride Parade June 11, 2017 as a peaceful walk from Hollywood and Highland to Santa Monica Boulevard. For more information, visit the website.  

In late January, LA-based philanthropist, activist and entrepreneur Brian Pendleton posted on Facebook that he wanted to see LA Pride turn into a protest march. The whole thing started “as a cranky comment on my Facebook page before my first cup of coffee,” says Brian. “We’ve had about 32,000 people join us. It went viral, basically.” 

Pendleton adds, “I wanted to be a team player in the community so I joined the Christopher Street West planning committee to plan the parade but I saw this pent up demand for a march instead.” 

Christopher Street West is a 501(c)3 within the LGBT community of Greater Los Angeles, committed to the goals of human rights, education, outreach and better understanding within the LGBTQ community and its allies. The nonprofit, founded in 1970, produced the first Lesbian and Gay Parade in Los Angeles to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion in June of 1969. Today, CSW, which was incorporated in 1976, produces the annual Greater Los Angeles LGBT Pride Celebration hosted by the independent cit y of West Hollywood. 

“DC is also having a march on the very same day. We’re taking a cue from what the women did,” says Pendleton. “It felt powerful for both coasts to have a massive march for human rights. I joined the Pride leadership and saw that this would be a relevant and poignant moment for CSW. Let’s make this ours and do the march.” 

“Logistically, this normally happens as a two or three day ticketed festival around Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente and that’s still happening. There’s normally a parade on Sunday but this year, we’ve cancelled the parade to do this instead,” adds Pendleton. 

“We are going to march from Hollywood and Highland, where LA Pride was born in 1970, to West Hollywood, where LA Pride grew up. It’s a really great moment. This year, because of the political winds and forces, we’re sort of wrapping the iconic rainbow flag of LGBTQ around women fighting for reproductive rights, the dreamers who want to stay in this country and recent immigrants who want to come here, anyone who feels impacted by the forces against human rights. 

“We’ve been fighting for our rights for decades now but the last eight years, we’ve had wind in our sails and seen tremendous progress. Not wanting to have any of our rights rolled back, we stand up with our trans brothers and sisters whose fates are being decided by state governments. In South Dakota, LGBTQ people can no longer adopt. We want our rights restored.” 

What’s next? Pendleton says the group has formed several committees. “Best friends have jumped on board with their friends and their friends’ friends. It’s growing every day. We want this to be the most diverse movement of people LA has ever seen, free, peaceful and safe, colorful and color blind.” 

In the past, participants paid to be in the parade but marching is free. Pendleton says the outreach committee is calling on organizations to provide a personal touch to invite groups to show up on June 11 at Hollywood and Highland. 

Members are also reaching out to the county and city so the city can put on extra buses and trains to alleviate the issues faced by the Women’s March. In addition, the committee has been working with Uber, Lyft, taxi and all transportation companies to help people get to and from the march as easily as possible. 

“Judging from the way people are responding to the political winds,” continues Pendleton, “this is an ongoing movement to resist those efforts to roll back rights and to divide us, to take a stand against xenophobia, homophobia and sexism. We’re really proud of our people for standing up and saying, ‘This is not our America.’ As long as the political winds are blowing in that direction, we will stand up and defy it. 

“I’ve always been involved. I was the Chairman of the Board of the Trevor Project. I’ve been a philanthropist my whole life. For this moment in time, I’m grateful, honored and excited to help create what could be the largest LGBTQ march in LA history. This is not a red issue; it’s not a blue issue. It’s a red, white, and blue issue. America has always been on the forefront of human rights and this is an extension.” 

In Text Box: Visit the #ResistMarch website to sign up for updates. Follow #ResistMarch on social media. Instagram: #ResistMarch Twitter: #ResistMarch Tumblr: #ResistMarch

Stay tuned for additional interviews with additional stakeholders from both #ResistMarch and other resist events in future columns.

 

(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

RESISTANCE WATCH--Organizers of Los Angeles Pride have announced a very different plan for the city’s annual 2017 Pride Festival. This year, instead of the annual Pride parade taking place, a #ResistMarch has been scheduled in response to the threat against the rights of minority Americans by current forces in the U.S. government.

According to WeHoVille, the Pride Festival will continue to be a ticketed event as it has every other year, and will include “a free transgender event and Sizzle sober area.” However, in conjunction with the festival’s downsizing due to construction, the parade will be replaced by an LGBTQ Resist March on Sunday, June 11. 

According to a mission statement published on the #ResistMarch’s website, the event is meant to harken back to “1970’s first LGBTQ+ Pride” and will involve marching “...in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity... Not just LGBTQ+ people but all Americans and dreamers will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized proclamation.”

Brian Pendleton, Founder of #ResistMarch, told The Huffington Post, “After seeing the success of the Women’s March in January, I realized that LA Gay Pride should make a similar stand by protesting instead of parading.” He added, “This is important now because when any American’s rights are under threat, all our rights are threatened. Forces are gathering in government that intend to take away our hard-won basic human rights.  We hope #ResistMarch will send a clear message to them. We resist forces that would divide us.  We resist those who would take away our liberty. We resist homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism. Together, we resist.”

The LGBT Resist March will take place on June 11, 2017 from 8:00 AM-2:00 PM.

(James Michael Nichols Queer Voices Deputy Editor, The Huffington Post … where this resistance watch report was first posted.)

-cw

RESISTANCE--“I never thought I’d be fighting these same battles -- again.” That credo has become the rallying cry for those who raised signs and banners for the movements of the sixties and seventies. Now, those who were young children or not yet born join the earlier activists on the Trump-inspired front line. The following three equality events and marches are on the LA calendar within the next few months. 

March for Science (April 22 from 9 am to 4 pm)

Over 50,000 are expected to participate in the March for Science starting at Pershing Square, which has become Ground Zero for such activity in our city. LA’s March is one of over 300 independent satellite marches for the national March for Science in Washington, DC happening the same day. The LA March will also feature a science and technology expo. 

According to the umbrella website, the mission of The March for Science is to “champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” 

Transgender March for Equality (Tax Day April 15)

The Transgender Rights Movement will be holding the Transgender March for Equality in Downtown LA. The march, to be held from 11 am to 3 pm, is being held to address the rights of the transgender community. The group’s Facebook event page reads: We understand that our community spans all racial classifications, religions, cultures, ages, countries, political representations, and every other demographic group in the country and in the world. We ask for your solidarity and support in marching or us for all people.” 

The 1st Annual Los Angeles Rally and Walk for Equality (Sunday March 26)

The Feminist Majority will be conducting rallies and fundraising walks to support women’s equality, including the Equal Rights Amendment. The group’s First Annual Los Angeles Rally and Walk for Equality will be held at Pan Pacific Park. Visit the website to sign up for the walk.  

The Los Angeles March supports the ERA, an amendment that would secure women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment reads: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” 

The kickoff rally is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am with the walk to start at 10:30 am. As of posting, confirmed rally speakers include actor/producer Curtis Armstrong, Girls Learn International Alumna Julia Van Trees Cowitt, actor/activist Anabeth Gish, co-founder of UFW & President of Delores Huerta Foundation Delores Huerta, Actor/Activist Donna Mills, Women’s March Los Angeles Organizer Emiliana “Emi” Guernica, Comedians Frangela (aka Frances Callier & Angela Shelton), Feminist Majority Board Member Carol Ann Leif, Kamala Lopez -- award-winning director of “Equal Means Equal,” Dinah Stephens -- Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, LA County, former CNN White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, and Ani Zonneveld - Muslims for Progressive Values 

Event organizers ask supporters to make a donation to the Rally & Walk for EQUALITY to create or join a team. Instructions and information about the event are available on the site.  

LA Pride Parade, Now #ResistMarch (June 6-11)

On June 18, 1970, Christopher Street West organized what was the very first permitted parade in Greater Los Angeles to advocate for gay rights, commemorating the first anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Rebellion. For the past 43 years, LA Pride Parade and Festival has been a fixture in West Hollywood. On June 11, 2017, however, one of the world’s largest pride parades will be replaced with #ResistMarch, announce Christopher Street West organizers.  

“LA Pride was founded upon the spirit of activism -- and today, continues in the footsteps of its founders,” reads the LA Pride website. A post on the website explains the event’s 2017 transformation. 

Christopher Street West (CSW), the non-profit organization responsible for producing the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood, has taken its New Year’s resolutions seriously. Today, the CSW Board of Directors is excited to announce a number of important changes to LA Pride in 2017. ...Given the current political climate where divisiveness and discrimination continue to be part of mainstream dialogue, CSW is determined to make the LA Pride brand a unifying force for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies across all of Los Angeles. To accomplish this goal, the organization is introducing several community-focused initiatives to continue LA Pride’s long-standing history as a voice of and for the entire LGBTQ+ community. - LA Pride website. 

Events will be held between June 6-11, with LA Pride Festival held June 10-11 and #MarchResist on June 11.

 (Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.)

-cw