It was a Capital event!
A group of Hunter College students and alums joined the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition and feminists from across the country in Washington, D.C., on December 13 in a march to demand the amendment’s immediate enshrinement in the U.S. Constitution.
Led by Rep. Cori Bush (D–Mo.) and Hunter’s Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Residence, former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, the group marched from the White House to the Capitol, with stops at the National Archives and the Department of Justice.
The march commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ERA’s introduction in Congress; on December 10, 1923, two Kansas Republicans, Rep. Daniel R. Anthony (a nephew of Susan B. Anthony) and Sen. Charles Curtis, introduced the amendment, authored by suffragist Alice Paul, into their respective chambers.
Congress passed the amendment in 1972 and sent it to the states for ratification by a two-thirds majority, which it reached in 2020. Because of an arbitrary time limit for ratification placed on the amendment by opponents, Congress has yet to recognize the ratification.
“The Equal Rights Amendment’s ability to enforce equal pay for women, make reproductive-rights restrictions unconstitutional, and bolster protections for victims of gender-based violence and discrimination makes its immediate recognition especially imperative in this approaching election cycle,” said sophomore Gretchen Wulfmeyer, who attended the march. “We cannot afford one year longer; the ERA gives anti-discrimination laws teeth, and we cannot afford to continue turning a blind eye to this systemic deterioration of human rights!”
After the march, the students attended a reception at the Senate hosted by Senator Dick Durbin (D–Ill.) that featured speeches by elected officials including Durbin, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.), and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), a recipient of Hunter’s Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leadership Award.
The reignited fight for the ERA has been going strong at Hunter since last year, when students and Maloney launched the Sign4ERA petition; hosted a member of the “Tennessee Three,” Gloria Johnson, at the Roosevelt House; formed their own chapter of the National Organization of Women, and attended the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Alumna Bella Ramirez ’23, a leader on the Sign4ERA petition, said, “it is so exciting to see the Equal Rights Amendment talked about on our campus. With alumni such as Bella Abzug, Pauli Murray, and Audre Lorde, the feminist fight is a key part of Hunter’s legacy.”
In 2024, the students are working harder than ever to get more of their peers involved.
“Our efforts must bear fruit for gender equity to live on with intention and consistency. Young people are the future of the ERA and much is at stake,” said Wulfmeyer.