January 2018 Meeting Notes

Dear Action Ridge Friends,

First of all, let me thank those who came to our meeting on Jan. 8th for your interest and enthusiasm regarding the passage of the ERA ratification resolution. Over 45 people attended, paid rapt attention to Eden Nassini and asked good questions that helped clarify the issues.

We also wrote postcards to our state Senators and Representatives asking them to support the ERA or thanking them for having done so. Above are the attachments that Eden sent us, which can be helpful to us in understanding the amendment and talking about it with elected officials and potential supporters.

In a separate email, I’ll send you the information from Lou Lang’s office which tells us how to fill out a Witness Slip and, below, please find the minutes from our Monday night meeting.

Please be at the Community Church on the morning of January 13th, from 10:00-12:00 to make posters. Bring poster board and markers, etc. I have contacted Michelle Fadeley, the President of Illinois NOW, regarding meeting up with their group for the March on January 20th.

We plan to meet at the Blue Line at 9:00 a.m. to go downtown to the March. THERE’S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!

Minutes from the Action Ridge Meeting, 1/10/18

Our guest speaker for the evening was Eden Nissani. She is the Outreach Coordinator for Lou Lang, who is the sponsor of the Resolution to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the Illinois House. Eden began by giving some background information about the ERA.

It was passed in 1972 but only 35 states out of the 38 needed ratified the Resolution. Nevada ratified in March of last year; so now only two more states are needed. There is a good chance that Illinois will ratify in the spring session. Then, it is hoped, other states will rush to be the last state to ratify and the ERA will be added to the Constitution.

Eden explained that when the Equal Rights Amendment becomes law, cases involving discrimination on the basis of gender will be given Strict Scrutiny. Currently, because gender is not seen as a “suspect class”, gender discrimination cases are given only Intermediate Scrutiny which often allows the cases to be struck down. Therefore, without an Equal Rights Amendment, women aren’t fully protected under the highest law of the land.

Eden then addressed the issue of resistance to the ERA. There has been strong conservative opposition to the amendment which caused the ERA not to be ratified back in the 70s. The opposition was led by Phyllis Schafly back then and continues to the present time. The Illinois Family Institute has spread the false belief that the ERA will affect reproductive rights, cause women to be drafted, force same sex bathrooms, etc. The ERA will not force anything but will give cases having to do with discrimination on the basis a gender the strong consideration they deserve. The amendment simply reads that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

A 3/5 majority is needed in both the Illinois House and Senate for the amendment to be ratified. No governor signature is required. Lou and Heather Steans, who is sponsoring ratification in the Illinois Senate, are hopeful that they will have enough votes in the spring session to pass the resolution.

Ways that we can help that happen are to;

meet with our own state legislators. We will especially focus on Michael McAuliffe, who represents some voters in Park Ridge and doesn’t support the ERA. We’ll form a small group of constituents to tell him why we support the passage of the ERA Resolution to Ratify and urge him to support the resolution, too.
fill out Witness Slips which declare our support for the ERA and deliver those to legislators.
write postcards to mail to our Representatives and Senators.
make posters and march with Illinois NOW on January 20th, carrying signs that declare our support the ERA.
phone bank in support of the ERA in the spring. Eden will send us information about phone banking when the time comes. She explained that timing is very important; so we’ll step up when it looks like the resolution can pass.

Our second speaker of the evening was Sandra Sullivan-Dunbar who is the coordinator for the Sister District Project in the Northern Suburbs. She told us about the efforts of the Sister Districts to get out the vote in support of progressive candidates in red states. She said that the Sister District calls helped make a difference in local elections in Virginia recently. Individual members of Action Ridge who want to participate in Sister District phone banking can contact Sandra at sandrasulldun@gmail.com. For more information look at http://www.sisterdistrict.com.

We then filled out postcards to send to our legislators urging them to support ratification or thanking them for their support and ended the meeting by reminding the audience to come to the poster-making party on January 13th, (this Saturday!) 10:00-12:00 at the Community Church and to March on January 20th with NOW Illinois. We will meet at The Blue Line at 9:00 a.m.

We decided to change our meeting day to the second Thursday of the month; so our next meeting will be held on February 8th, 7:00 pm, at the Community Church. We’ll follow up on our efforts to support the ERA and plan future actions.

Minutes taken by Val Halston and Nan Parson

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