Hunter College Roosevelt House students are taking their feminist involvements a step further — forming one of New York’s youngest chapters of the National Organization of Women.
The students have been on the march since April, when they launched the Sign4ERA petition drive that has garnered more than 70,000 signatures in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. The petition calls on Congress to recognize ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and immediately enshrine the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. The petition has the support and signatures of heavy hitters such as feminist activists Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Smeal, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“The only way to ensure equality for all people in this country – regardless of who they are or who they love – is with the Equal Rights Amendment,” said Bella Ramirez, a 2023 Hunter grad and Sign4ERA Initiative leader, “The Sign4ERA petition is instrumental in getting us closer to that final goal.”
In July the group attended the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls to promote the petition. It was there that they hatched the idea of an organized club fighting for the advancement of gender equality at Hunter.
With the help of the Hon. Carolyn B. Maloney, who serves as the Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Leader in Residence at Roosevelt House and as the president of New York State NOW, the students quickly got to work.
“NOW has always been at the forefront of feminist movement,” said Maloney, “When I was a young woman running for City Council and later Congress, NOW was there for me.That’s why I am so excited to help NOW be there for this next generation of leaders.”
Already the students have been tabling on campus, with a focus on gaining petition signatures and educating their peers on the ERA. They see their NOW chapter not only as a club, but as a resource and networking opportunity for students.
Gretchen Wulfmeyer, the club’s treasurer, said: “It has been so exciting to network in this new and evolving space with influential feminist groups and leaders. A club as a resource can so easily be overlooked but I highly encourage future activists to reach out to our club and get involved!”
To sign the student’s petition go to www.Sign4ERA.org, and for more updates on their events and efforts be sure to follow the Sign4ERA Initiative on Instagram @Sign4ERA.