ERAMN actions of a ratified state; ERA Minnesota Report as presented on National ERA Conference Call ‘THE CALL’ 6.24.18

July 4, 2018
By Betty Folliard, Founder ERAMN​​I. Background of ERAMNA. I started ERA Minnesota in 2014 after we successfully passed WESA – The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act - thru our legislature, putting Minnesota on the forefront of workplace protections for women. B. To amplify our voice nationally on this topic, I searched the Internet and discovered there was a Rally for Equality in DC that September. So I raised the monies neede [...]

By Betty Folliard, Founder ERAMN

​​I. Background of ERAMN
A. I started ERA Minnesota in 2014 after we successfully passed WESA – The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act – thru our legislature, putting Minnesota on the forefront of workplace protections for women.
B. To amplify our voice nationally on this topic, I searched the Internet and discovered there was a Rally for Equality in DC that September. So I raised the monies needed to take 50 people – a diverse coalition of women & a few good men from every corner of this state – to travel by bus to DC for the “We Are Woman” #Rally4Equality2014 on the U.S. Capitol Mall.
C. That’s where we connected with women’s rights coalitions from all across the country and the journey shifted our focus to the ERA. I proposed, and we became, ERA Minnesota. We elected officers, built a cadre of ally organizations, honed our message then aimed our energies at both the Minnesota Legislature & at Congress to achieve our goals of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment into our state & national constitutions. To that end, ERAMN is working locally, statewide & nationally to help finally ratify the ERA.

II. Ratified State

  1. As a ratified state here in Minnesota, we developed a two-pronged approach:

1. Pass an ERA into our state constitution because we are one of the 26 states that has not already done so; and,
2. Pass legislation demanding Congress remove the deadline on the ERA.
3. To this end we have two types of legislation: first, our Minnesota ERA to embed an ERA into our state constitution, and second, our Minnesota Legislature’s Resolution to Congress to remove the deadline of June 2, 1982 out of the preface of the federal Equal Rights Amendment.

III. At ERAMN, our actions can be described as 3-fold, or as Susan B. Anthony so succinctly phrased it, ”Organize, Agitate, Educate.”

  1. Organize:

1. Grow our Base: Our organization has grown since 2014 from 50 to over 3000 activists with a reach far beyond that on social media. We have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and are the go-to-guys in the media when issues arise regarding women’s equality. In 2017 we brought over 500 people to the state capitol to advocate for our legislation, with numerous authors & co-authors on our various bills. This year, in the off year, we had over 300 people come to the capitol to join our efforts.

2. Garner Resources: Fundraising is essential in order to fuel this all-volunteer organization, so in the past 9 months we held 2 fundraisers, one at Minnesota’s first women-owned brewery called Urban Growler with a Silent Auction & Live Music; and one at Sweeney’s Saloon with guest speakers & local talent.

3. Build Coalitions: Collaboration with other local groups and organizations has been key to success.
In 2017 we developed an early friendship with Women’s March Minnesota, providing the contact info for their speakers. I then travelled to DC for the Women’s March weekend and made presentations there to ERA activists. We’ve made presentations across the state on ERA including:
a. Last Women’s Equality Day we presented a screening of the film “Equal Means Equal” at the Women in Public Policy Program at the University of Minnesota
b. Presenting a Women’s Rights 101 Program partnering with the Minneapolis/St. Paul NOW at the 2018 MNxMN Resistance conference
c. Tabling at local legislators’ Advocacy Fair
d. Tabling at Women’s March: Hear our Voice event
e. We helped host the “Let’s Talk Women!” Conference hosted by MN Local Action Group where we again did a screening of Equal Means Equal & Panel discussion and at the U of M Carlson School of Management
f. Plus another screening of EME & Discussion at East Side Freedom Library
g. We created an awesome banner and marched in:
1) Cinco de Mayo Parade
2) May Day Parade & booth
h. This weekend we are sharing a table with MN NOW at PRIDE Weekend where we are conducting a poll to have the public vote on their favorite billboard choices
h. and ongoing this summer we’re helping with Women’s March Power to the Polls

  1. Agitate:
  1. In 2015 we started our ERAMN Capitol Action Squad – a group of folks who would do visibility with ERA signs in front of both our House & Senate to talk to leaders directly. In addition, we had a major postcard-writing campaign this year – with thousands of cards sent to legislators’ offices and brought hundreds of activists to the capitol.
  2. Also in 2015 ERAMN warriors travelled to Springfield, Illinois to help with the ERA Action push to ratify there.
  3. In December after 2 state legislators were called out for sexual harassment at the capitol, I and another leader held an anti-sexual harassment rally called “I Believe Her” which made it onto all the statewide major print and TV media as well as got some national coverage at the MN state capitol. 2 days later to two legislators quit their elected offices.
  4. Predictably, the GOP majority in Session ignored all efforts, so my 2nd major ERA commentary was printed in the Star Tribune pointing out their intransigence.
  5. We then turned our energies outside, creating a new billboard campaign in coalition with Minnesota NOW. To date we’ve designed billboards and have our first one up with an online fundraising strategy to put even more in strategic locations around the state based on Legislative leadership inaction. This has been so successful that we raised enough in the first week on GoFundMe for a 3rd billboard.

 

  1. Educate:
  1. By far our biggest challenge in achieving ERAMN’s goals to pass the ERA statewide and federally is Education. To that end this year we:
    1. Mailed out a Newsletter to a 2500 person recipient list
    2. Have presented at numerous guest speaker events, including

1) 2 Third Thursdays Panels
2) AAUW Minneapolis Public Policy luncheon
3) St Olaf College Gender Studies Students
4) Rep. Omar’s Coffee and Kulan panel
5) Minneapolis League of Women Voters
6) St Paul League of Women Voters
7) The Northfield/Cannon Falls LWV
8) ERA TV Interview on FYI with Barry ZeVan
9) Radio interview on AM950
10) Presented at House of Hope Church
11) Presentation to the Twin Cities Presbytery
12) Presented to Warren E. Berger Inn of Court

IV. Our national work to date has included:

  1. Participating in 2 Marches/Rallies in DC, one organized by We Are Woman and one organized by Katrina’s Dream;
  2. Regular communication and collaboration with ERA groups across the US (i.e. ERA Action, ERA Coalition, Equal Means Equal, Katrina’s Dream, etc.)
  3. We are a Lead Organization on ERA Coalition & I am the MN State Director for Equal Means Equal
  4. Taking action on social media with state ERA ratification efforts elsewhere, including in Illinois & North Carolina
  5. This year I became a Presbyterian Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women where I spent 10 days advocating for women’s empowerment and equality internationally.
  6. ERAMN was also instrumental in passing the “100CitesForCEDAW” CEDAW resolution through Minneapolis, St Paul, Edina & Redwing city councils, as well as the Minnesota Bar Association.

V. In conclusion, there’s so much that a ratified state can do to organize, agitate, & educate our society about the burning need for the ERA by helping un-ratified states, amplifying our collective ERA voice toward final passage, educating the sleeping public about ERA and passing the ERA into our state constitution. We’re on the right side of history. We won’t take no for an answer. And we will prevail.

Want to hear the recording? Go hear to LISTEN!

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