In 1982, Long Beach native and activist Zoe Nicholson went to Springfield, IL to fast for the Equal Rights Amendment, which then got ratified in 2018 following the state of Nevada in 2017. Now the state of Virginia is next in line and the 38thstate to ratify the ERA – making it the final state required for the US Constitution to be amended for Women’s Inclusion. After working on the amendment for over 40 years, Nicholson will attend the rally on Jan. 17-20, 2020 and be present as a representative of the City of Long Beach for this historical moment.
The battle for the ERA began 97 years ago in 1923 with suffragist Alice Paul introducing the first version to Congress. The constitutional amendment was passed by Congress 50 years later in 1972 with several implications that range from women’s equal pay to pregnancy discrimination protections to paid equal maternity and paternity leave. Only 35 out of the 38 states that ratified the amendment did so by the deadline in 1982. For any amendment to be added to the Constitution, 38 out of our 50 states must agree to ratify. With the notions of the #metoo movement and President Trump’s election, states such as Nevada and Illinois brought attention back to the amendment. Now with Virginia’s Democratic leaders, it is almost certain to pass. What begs the question is will Congress strike out the deadline. Amendments usually don’t have ratification deadlines. In this case it could be either or both repealed and challenged in court.
The film crew for the documentary, Still Working 9 to 5, will be filming Nicholson on Jan. 19-20, 2020 during the rally and the vote. She will be joined by Lilly Ledbetter (The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Supreme Court of the United States plaintiff) and Jeri Burton, President of Nevada NOW. You can virtually follow her journey here.
By Yasmine Tanres