- VIDEO FAQs
- What is the Equal Rights Amendment?
- How Does Not Having the Equal Rights Amendment Affect Me?
- Don’t Men and Women Already Have Equal Rights in America?
- Doesn’t the 14th Amendment Already Guarantee Women Equal Rights Under the Law?
- But What About the Other Laws We Have in Place to Protect Women?
- If the ERA is Ratified Will Women be Drafted?
- If the ERA is Ratified Will Women Have to Share Bathrooms with Men?
- Which Political Side is ERA On?
- FILM PRESS
- ERA U
The meeting at Citizen Group was scheduled for 3 o’clock Friday afternoon which allowed me and Mom a leisurely morning and breakfast. We stayed at the Chancellor Hotel, right off the main square in downtown San Francisco. Joel and I had stayed there the last time we came to meet with Robin Raj and his team.
I met Robin through my good friend Paul Dektor, a director/actor/producer whose family company Dektor Film (AKA Cartel) has made some of the most consistently excellent commercials and PSAs of our time; his father Leslie Dektor is a multiple award-winning director as well and the entire family is very special, both artistically and spiritually. Paul and Robin had worked together on Amnesty International’s campaigns and they both were committed to social justice and making media that matters. In fact, Robin, who had a mile long list of corporate clients, had decided to create an advertising agency where he could not only apply his brilliance in messaging/marketing/advertising but also his values and purpose – this new agency is Citizen Group.
I was deeply honored that Robin had agreed to guide the E.R.A. Education Project, I had met with him twice before; once in Los Angeles in November and once on December 15th in San Francisco. The last time we met, I was introduced to the startlingly bright Molly Tsongas, Citizen Group’s Engagement Strategist, who, while clearly on board in terms of the mission of the women’s equality project, was ruthless in her dissection of our areas of weakness: lack of organization, strategy and clear messaging. I had returned to L.A. with an armful of material to study and a slightly panicked sense that maybe the task was greater than my abilities.
I ordered a few textbooks including Sex, Gender and The Politics of ERA by Donald G. Mathews and Jane Sherron De Hart (on the recommendation of Susan Rose, an extremely well-educated and active member of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and early supporter of E.R.A. Education Project) and Why We Lost the E.R.A. by Jane J. Mansbridge. I poured over the planning guide and manual Discovering The Activation Point that Molly had printed out for me.
Gini (Sikes – my writing partner), Jennifer (Geeslin – ERA Education Project intern), Mom and I had begun to brainstorm strategy, getting as far as the first 3 Steps of the planning guide which included: Confirming A Campaign is Possible; Setting a Clear Measurable Goal that is Achievable; and Charting Your Course. Now we needed help. We had reached the limit of what we all fully understood and needed to know whether we were on the right track. Orchestrating a campaign like this clearly was going to take a lot more than the four of us sitting in my office coming up with ideas for funny, informative PSAs. Or even producing said PSA’s. It was going to take some crazy support and a lot of knowledge and people power that we didn’t yet have.
So when we sat down to that meeting at 3pm on Friday afternoon, I was frankly concerned. I knew I wanted to do this; I knew it had (and has) to be done – we need women’s full equality in America. But I was losing faith in knowing how best to get it done. I felt lost. Completely out of my depth.
The meeting started with me showing Robin and Molly the fruits of our intense labor since the last meeting: Gini, Jen and I had slaved over the FAQ scripts and the web copy. We had only received the final cuts of the video FAQ’s from Spencer Seibert at Beast the day before, and Joel had been up for two days straight building the website. The urgency was due to the fact that Robin and I had discussed the possibility of partnering with Rock the Vote and we needed something to show them, to give them a hint of what we wanted to do. Robin was pleased with what we had accomplished but as the meeting went on, and mom tried to get the next steps nailed down I felt more and more despairing that I would be able to pull everything off with the resources I had.
Suddenly Molly, who had been staring at me as I spoke about my concerns, came up with a Big Idea. You want to go she said. I can see that. You want to get going – you’ve got the message, you’ve got the passion. I nodded. Why don’t you just start going, across America, talking to women about these issues, marching and finding out the stories of real women and how inequity affects them, interviewing them, and covering your journey with a film crew. You could raise awareness and make a movie that can broaden that message. I thought about it. You know it’s women’s history month in March, I said. March 8th is the International Day of Woman. And the 22nd of March is the 40th Anniversary of the passage of E.R.A. in Congress. We all looked at each other. There wasn’t much time but we all realized: THAT is an excellent idea. Let’s do THAT.
So THAT IS THE PLAN.