March 24th, 2021
WVU Libraries will host a virtual panel presentation titled “The Equal Rights Amendment: Past, Present, and Future” on Thursday, April 8, at noon. The presentation is in conjunction with the Libraries’ “Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics Around Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage” exhibition and the West Virginia and Regional History Center’s exhibitions on women’s suffrage and voting rights.
Join panelists Jeri Burton, chair of the NOW’s 28th Amendment ERA Committee; Linda Coberly, chair of the ERA Coalition’s legal task force; and Liza Mickens, Vote Equality US co-founder, for a discussion about past and present efforts, challenges, and strategies for passing the Equal Rights Amendment. Danielle Emerling, Congressional & Political Papers archivist and WVRHC assistant curator, will moderate the event.
Register for the Zoom event here.
The push for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) began in 1923 with Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party but attempts to include women in the Constitution were unsuccessful. In 1972, Congress passed the ERA with bipartisan support. It stated 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.”
While 35 states had ratified the ERA by 1982, it was three states short of the three-quarters of states required by the Constitution. Additionally, five states have voted to rescind or otherwise withdraw their ratification of the ERA.
The ERA has faced a number of political and legal challenges, but renewed interest and activism has resulted in ratification in Nevada in 2017 and Virginia in 2020, making it the 38th state to ratify the amendment. In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution removing the ratification deadline so the process can move forward.
A life-long progressive activist, Burton currently serves as president of the Nevada chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and is on the NOW National Board representing the Western Region.
Coberly is the chair of Winston & Strawn’s Appellate & Critical Motions Practice and serves as managing partner of the firm’s oldest and largest office. She has argued more than 50 appeals in federal and state appellate courts across the country. She leads pro bono efforts by the ERA Coalition’s Legal Task Force to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She holds an A.B. from Princeton and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.
Mickens is great, great-granddaughter of Maggie Walker (1864-1934), the first African-American woman to charter a bank and serve as its president in the United States. Mickens advocates for a more complete narrative of the story of suffrage and the fight for gender equality in America. In addition to representing her family’s historical legacy for over a decade, she has been speaking out on gender equality since 2018 and now leads the VoteEqualityUS intern program. A 2019 graduate from James Madison University, she has a keen interest in the fashion industry which she balances with her work to change the world for future generations.
Sign language interpreting and captioning services are available by request for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing. To request an interpreter or captioner, contact Jason.Kapcala@mail.wvu.edu at least three business days prior to the event.
For more information contact Libraries Exhibit Coordinator Sally Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.