The ERA-NC Alliance, AAUW-NC and NC NOW are launching a statewide ERA awareness campaign in advance of Constitution Day. Billboards, installed strategically across North Carolina, will call for state ratification of the ERA. During the weeks leading up to Constitution Day on Sept. 17, advocates will promote ERA ratification with a series of activities, including an Instagram challenge.
The presidents of the three statewide organizations will jointly announce the campaign at a press conference August 22nd at 2 pm in the NC Legislative Building Press Room with state Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., and Rep. Carla Cunningham, the primary sponsors of ERA bills SB184 and HB271, respectively. Additional primary sponsors of the bills are Sens. Erica Smith and Terry Van Duyn, as well as Reps. Susan Fisher, Evelyn Terry and Julie von Haefen. ERA bills SB184 and HB271 will continue to be viable until the end of the long General Assembly session. They are exempt from the crossover deadline.
Constitution Day is a federal holiday that recognizes the day the United States Constitution was adopted and signed by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17th, 1787; it also recognizes those who have become U.S. citizens. Federal agencies and all publicly-funded educational institutions are required to provide educational programming on the history of the Constitution on that day. This makes the day a perfect time to educate Americans that women are not equally protected under our constitution, and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment will remedy that dire situation!
“An all-male panel wrote our constitution,” said Marena Groll, co-president of the ERA-NC Alliance. “Equality was a problem right out of the gate, and it’s something that has eluded us for more than 230 years.”
An ERA bill was introduced in Congress in 1923, but not passed until 1972. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. By the controversial 1982 deadline, 35 of the necessary 38 states had ratified. The ERA movement re-ignited in 2017, challenging the legitimacy of the deadline as Nevada became the 36th state to ratify, quickly followed by Illinois as the 37th the following year. North Carolina has the historic opportunity to become the 38th — and final — state necessary to ratify the ERA to guarantee equal rights for women and men under the U.S. Constitution, and our state’s efforts are being followed nationally.
“We are very excited about the new billboards,” said Gailya Paliga, president of NC NOW. “We hope they spark interest in the ERA as a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for women and men.”
“What an honor if North Carolina will vote to ratify ERA and be the final state to approve Constitutional protection of equal rights for all Americans,” said Jane Terwillegar, president of AAUW North Carolina.
Find a billboard near you! Billboard locations are in Concord, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Greensboro. Snap a photo of the billboards – even a selfie with them if you can do it safely – and share it on our Instagram page!
Organizations and members are encouraged to organize and participate in events and activities in the march up to Constitution Day, Sept 17 and during that week of Sept.15 – 21.