Women have been fighting for equal rights under federal law for over a century. Ratifying the ERA requires only two more states. The Illinois House of Delegates is going to be holding an ERA hearing on Wednesday, May 16 at 8 am. We visited with Kamala Lopez President of Heroica Films and Executive Director of Equal Means Equal to find out more about what this means and how to help.
Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for visiting with us, Kamala. You've asked women to fill out witness slips letting them know that we support equality in advance of the ERA hearing tomorrow. Can you share with us why that's important, and how it will help?
Kamala Lopez: Thank you, Meryl Ann! The Delegates in Illinois who are either on the fence about voting "yes" on ERA or are voting "no" need to realize that the country is watching what they are doing and that we care. The sad reality is that the state of Illinois already has an ERA for its women but refuses to grant those same rights and protections to the rest of the country's citizens. That is truly improper. Those who would oppose equality for all must not be allowed to remain in office in the United States. This is a very important fight -- both on principle and in practice.
MAB: If someone wants to participate in supporting this, what should they do?
KL: Please fill out a witness slip here right away -- the Hearing is Wednesday morning and they will tally the count on both sides and announce it. For the first hearings, where I had the privilege to testify, there were 3471 Proponents and 319 Opponents. I would love to see the number of proponents hit six figures. Here are some guidelines for filing out the form:
If you want to list EqualMeansEqual.org as who you are representing, that is fine, or just put "self"
In the "Representation" section: write in "self" or feel free to say that you are part of Equal Means Equal.
In the "Position" section: select PROPONENT
In the "Testimony" section:
- If you will not be in Illinois, check the "Record of Appearance Only" box or "File a Written Statement" if you would like to share your views on why you support ERA and equal rights for all Americans.
- If you will be in Illinois, check oral if you would like to speak/attend.
Please commit now to getting 10 friends to fill out a witness slip and tag us @equalmeansequal on social media and let us know that you did! Filling out the witness slip is free, but the outcome could be priceless!
MAB: I'm confused about the "Record of Appearance Only" section. I'm not going to be in Illinois so I won't "appear""can I still check that box?