By Marena SW Groll
If there is one thing North Carolina’s women have learned well, it’s how to survive epic equality fails. We have “nevertheless persisted,” fueled by southern tea that is seriously sweet in order to cope while doing so. Because serious times, call for serious tea.
But this time, it’s about wild success.
This month, our beloved Old North State, the promised land of bar-b-que and basketball, became the face of the national conversation about women’s constitutional rights. Well, shut my mouth.
In fact, the events leading up to this juncture, left many mouths gaping.
In May of this year, in a nail-bitingly close vote, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) following Nevada’s surprising ratification in March of 2017. Surprising, because the last state to ratify the ERA prior to Nevada was Indiana in 1977. We’re talking 40 years ago, people. But we’re also talking about the backdrop of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the spectacle of raging sexist politics right now.
What does it mean and what’s happening?
It means only one more state ratification is needed to amend the United States Constitution. North Carolina could make history becoming the 38th and final state needed to push the amendment over the top, securing the bedrock guarantee of equality of rights under the law without regard to sex.
What’s happening is one for the books in planning for wild success. North Carolina didn’t just burst onto the national scene as a contender for ratification. ERA-NC, an alliance of some of the most influential women’s groups across the state, has been building a ground game for a couple of years, because wild success waits for no woman to play catch-up.
Not that any of us can wait any longer to cure a culture that is producing gross pay inequities; epidemic rape in major institutions; sex trafficking; pregnancy discrimination; ageism, ableism; harm to women of color and immigrant women; a lack of political parity; and the never-ending nightmare of domestic violence in what is supposed to be the sanctuary of our homes. It makes this Southern gal want equal access to constitutional protections to go along with that slice of sweet potato pie.
It’s turning out to be a long, hot summer session at the general assembly. ERA bills, S782 and H1072, are sitting in Rules Committees in both chambers, unconsidered and unheard. But on ERA Advocacy Day this Wednesday, June 27th, at the legislature, supporters will be heard as they lobby on the important question being pushed forward into 2019, when ERA bills are expected to be reintroduced.
Will North Carolina be the state to put women into the US Constitution, y’all?
Marena SW Groll is a co-president of ERA-NC Alliance, but the expressed opinions are her own and not presented as those of ERA-NC Alliance or any organization.
ERA Advocacy Day: http://www.facebook.com/events/2037724166480399/