‘No exceptions, no exclusions, no asterisks’: Why these organizations are fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment

Jeanetta Williams, president of NAACP Utah, speaks at the “Vote Equality: Minding the Gaps for Utah Women” press conference at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.

Jeanetta Williams, president of NAACP Utah, speaks at the “Vote Equality: Minding the Gaps for Utah Women” press conference at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Three Utah organizations continued their fight for legislation seeking equal rights for women Friday, gathering on the steps of the Utah State Capitol to speak, listen and sing.

The press conference, titled “Vote Equality: Minding the Gaps for Utah Women,” was organized by the Utah Equal Rights Amendment Coalition, Equality Utah and the League of Women Voters of Utah.

The conference’s primary message was a reminder and a call for change, noting that Utah is one of the handful of states that has not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.

“This year has been an apology, because we didn’t win equality for all,” said Kelly Whited Jones, chair of the Utah Equal Rights Amendment Coalition. “We won equality for some. When our Constitution was written, it left some folks out on purpose, and we have been working ever since to repair that, to mind that gap, to fix that error. And in Utah, we are working to mind the gaps.”

“Where can we improve? How can we improve?”

The press conference came just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, and speakers repeatedly encouraged people to turn out and vote.

“There is no better time than this to stand up, to look where we are as a state for women, for communities of color, for our beautiful LGBTQQIA community and remember why we vote — why we vote for equality,” Jones said.

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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Kelly Whited Jones, chairwoman of the Utah Equal Rights Amendment Coalition, speaks at the “Vote Equality: Minding the Gaps for Utah Women” press conference at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.

Historically, Utah has been one of the nation’s leaders regarding women’s suffrage and rights.

Adrielle Herring, the campaign manager for Utah Rep. John Curtis, reminded those at the event that the first U.S. woman to ever cast a ballot was Utah’s Seraph Young Ford — and that the first female state senator was from the Beehive State.

“Really, it was the battle for the women’s movement, women’s equality, women’s suffrage, that established Utah,” she said. “That was our first story of Utah punching above its weight and leading out nationally in a major way. Well, it’s time for Utah to resurrect those days.”

“It seems to me that one of the most important things that we can do in order to reinvigorate that passion and that determination among Utahns is tell those stories of Utah’s early leadership in the women’s movement.”

Other speakers talked about the separation of church from state, reproductive rights, the police system, health care, and a “white supremacist” presidential administration.

“The original suffrage movement was incredibly white, incredibly upper-middle class, incredibly cis-hetero and did not look at freedom through a lens that would liberate all of …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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