The ERA NC Advocacy Day on Wednesday, 6/27/18, included at least 100 women and a few good men from across North Carolina, many dressed in green and white. The event was organized by the ERA-NC Alliance and associated groups (including NC NOW, NC4ERA, RatifyERANC, AAUW-NC, LWV-NC, BPW-NC) as follows at the Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St.
9:30am – gather in the 1300 quadrant
10:00am – ERA Bill Sponsor Press Conference in the press room (1300 quadrant)
10:30am – gather outside press room for distribution of educational packets to NC legislators
By 10am, we had about 35 people in the press room and another 65 or more outside the window, looking in.
Many legislators came to support the ERA from the beginning, and more came in mid way. Rep. Deb Butler spoke first, but had to skiddadle back to session. Then Senator Erica Smith took over. Sen. Smith, who is a women of many talents -including mechanical engineering, ended with a poem which was a twist on Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”
“I work hard as a man,
Harder than a mule.
And while the water is troubled,
We’re going to step in the pool.
I’m going to shake every place
I go through,
Because if a man has rights,
then a woman should, too.”
Senator Floyd McKissick spoke after the poem. McKissick has been a constant and consistent champion for women. He was our first sponsor of the ERA bills, agreeing readily to start work on wording in 2014. Joyce Waddel spoke. Sen. Mike Woodard spoke. When it went back to Sen. Erica Smith to close, she had women call out where in NC they came from (since the few out of staters had been mentioned). She also did a shout out to the 40-50 women outside the window (we later found out the count was at least 65 outside the window, looking in).
At 10:30am, we got our delivery and discussion tips, and groups of women and a few men went out to deliver packets to legislators in the two buildings. The packets included a FAQ from a law firm that is working with ERA-NC Alliance!
After the press conference, Audrey Muck gave instructions and Lori Bunton and others gave out the packets to groups of people to deliver. Most groups were done delivering by 11:30am.
WRAL posted a picture taken toward the beginning of the ERA-NC Alliance press conference on 6/27/18 – Sen. Erica Smith is speaking, NC NOW president Gailya Paliga is next to her, NC BPW president Barbara Bozeman is in the corner with glasses. You can see some of the many women outside the window wishing they fit in the room! More representatives came in as the press conference continued. See original picture at https://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/image/17659418/