You Can Support Social Justice and Get Free Poetry at the Same Time!

Hello My People of the Internet —

If you know anyone in the nonprofit world, you know we all hustle for donations, even if we do have a few grants that keep the lights on. And, if you don’t, now you do.

I am asking you to donate whatever feels good to you to Split This Rock. We’re a really small nonprofit. I do masses of work for here for free because I’ve seen with my own self how our work at the nexus of poetry and social justice affects people for the better, moves hearts to open, and generally keeps people’s souls in good working order in these trying and mournful times.

We’re passing a hat for general purposes, but we also have a big biennial poetry festival coming up April 14-17, 2016, so work and expenses do blossom. Major American and international poets from all traditions and backgrounds get together for four days to discuss the poetics of justice on nearly every issue of concern or celebration for communities creating liberation and the full glory of all our human ways of being. Plus, we read and enjoy heaps and piles of bone-shaking poetry.

Like the Poem of the Week we published for Christmas this year by the inimitable Aracelis Girmay, “from The Body of the Black Maria.”

If you want, donation or no, you can sign-up to get our newsletter, and that means you get our Poem of the Week — a free poem every Friday on one of a range of social justice issues — which, would make me happy because I help curate and publish these poems. They all live here: *The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database*. And they are incredible poems, top-of-skull-off poems.

This is by far not all we do. Our monthly reading series brings poets from DC and the whole country

Joy and comfort to you each, and to all your other beloveds, too.
Simone Roberts
Poetry & Social Justice Fellow



Kill the Feminist

The Trouble with Millennials Isn’t What You Think

You know the game. It’s popular on college campuses across the Republic. Young women organize to demand that colleges address rape culture, and social media lights up with calls to rape and murder the women who simply want to be safe from the random but intimate violence of rape.

Julia Michels, the incoming president of Feminists United, said the anonymous threats were especially troubling.” There was no way of telling if these people were serious, if they had a history of violence,” said Michels, a rising senior from Fairfax. “I didn’t know if they were living across the hall or sitting next to me in class.”
(WJLA ABC7 News)

On April 17, 2015 the previous president of Feminists United (affiliate of Feminist Majority), Grace Mann was murdered by her housemate in charming Fredericksburg, VA at the liberal arts college, University of Mary Washington. The housemate was a former member of the rugby team. What’s happening is a kind perfect-storm of structural social oppression. It’s long been part of “sports culture” like “frat culture” to take women for toys or enemies. In this case, that friction went to its natural endgame.

But, more than being a woman, Grace Mann was killed for acting on her feminist principles – for being a feminist who called out bad behavior. For being a feminist.

Feminists United members, including Mann, were targeted by name on Yik Yak after speaking out against incidences of sexual violence involving fraternities, and after word spread—incorrectly—that the group had called for the suspension of UMW’s men’s rugby team over sexually violent chants by some members. (

The feminist called for behavior adjustments and education, and one of the men critiqued allegedly murdered her. Men are afraid women will judge them, and women are afraid men will kill us. Quit killing us, and we’re a lot less likely to scorn you.

This is the dark truth about Millennials that we are not facing. We hear so often about their acceptance of LGBTQIA+ culture and rights, their relative comfort interacting across lines of race and ethnicity, their bad luck to be graduating to a crap economy, and their insistence that their way to doing business in the world – one entirely informed by information technology and interconnectivity – be respected and accepted. Their pathologically encouraged need for compliments and kudos. All of that social progressivism and general good nature falls apart when push comes to women.

I want to join the chorus of cheer and relief that finally, here, thanks to the magic of the Internet and all that self-esteem building, here is a generation that might actually change the system and set the world to rights. I’m told their generational aura is amethyst – they were just born vibrating on a higher frequency, we should all be so happy. But, nope, not buying it.

The first of all structural othering and oppression is that of men over women, masculine over feminine. We call this patriarchy, or male privilege, or street harassment, we call it rape culture, gendered wage gap, domestic violence, we call it TRAP regulations …. We call it lots of names, but it is one thing: the foundation of all other senseless bigotry, distrust, and personal destruction. Until Millennials swing their amethyst colored acceptance around to this issue of male power creating a permanent state of social and physical danger for women, all that other lauded social bigheartedness is complete bullshit built on a foundation of damp cardboard.

I get it, this is hard, this is the deepest depth of the revolution. But we Gen Xers and our Baby Boomer parents, the grandparents of these charming Millennials, we need to step up and set them right. We forgot to teach our boys that their sisters are people. Secretly, that’s because our two generations were and are Much More Conservative than our stories about the Summer of Love and slackers with McJobs would have us think. And it shows. Millennials, this where we let you down, again. You’re growing up into a ravaged environment, but you are still ravaging each other – men against women – as if it’s 1973 and that confounded Equal Rights Amendment is being quickly, but never completely, ratified. Believe me, you will not solve the environment without solving sexism, and vice versa. The cultural premise that woman is an infinite and compliant resource for the needs and pleasure of men and that the planet is an infinite and complaint resource for the needs and pleasure of men are the same idea. They both sit so deep down at the base of our whole Western cultural history that changing them, even just a wee bit, sets whole political parties into action to restrict and repeal women’s rights, and turns roommates into murders.

Here’s what’s amazing about you, Millennials, what all that amethyst, misty-eyed hype boils down to: You Are Good At Friendship. Befriend each other, men and women among you. That’s your superpower, and the only way you’re going to make good on your press and clean up your dirty little secret. It’s likely that the very survival of human culture rides on your shoulders.

Is It So Hard to Mourn Black Women? And To Praise Them?

This will not be the first time this question is asked. But, it must be asked again, and again, as necessary — which is always.

For some different and some similar reasons to James Baldwin’s, Henry Miller also left America for mostly-good. Of the Americans he left — white, corporate, male, ambitious, good at looking honest on camera — he said this in America: The Airconditioned Nightmare:

Inside every smiling American beats the heart of a killer.

He meant the kind of American who isn’t much bothered by the river of blood that is our history, and our present. The kind that intentionally or blithely lets others suffer and die as along as the broadband stays up, the kind who would rather be “nice people” than good people.

These women are dead:

Take Aiyana Jones, 7, who was killed by a Detroit police officer as she slept on her father’s couch. Or Rekia Boyd, 22, whose life ended in Chicago when she was killed by a police officer. Or Yvette Smith, 48, who was unarmed when she was killed by a police officer in Texas. Or Pearlie Smith, 93, who was fatally shot in her home. Or Tarika Wilson, 26, whose one-year-old son was also injured when she was killed by a Ohio police officer. Or Tyisha Miller, 19, who was killed by a police officer in Los Angeles. Or Kathryn Johnson, 92, who was killed by a police officer in Atlanta. Or Gabriella Nevarez, 22, who was killed by a Sacramento police officer. Or Eleanor Bumpurs, 66, who was killed by a police officer in the Bronx.

(Read Evette Dione’s excellent piece in Bustle. It’s powerful writing.)

Their hands will never be mothered, or mother, or grandmother, or hold the shoulders of their sisters, or brush the lips of their lovers again. We have all been robbed of the chance ever to meet them, befriend them, share a joke during our morning commute or at the cafe or the corner store.

The same state sponsored (no metaphor) violence that took more famous men from us, that thinks for-profit prisons were ever compatible with human rights and community safety took these women from us. In my own comfortable county of Fairfax, Virginia, Natasha McKenna was tazed 4 times, while shackled, and it killed her. I’m sure that her resistance to being removed from her cell angered deputies charged with her care. So? Dealing with people disinclined to cooperate is The Job of Deputies.

Don’t want people mad at you on the daily?
Don’t be a cop.

There are no major protests in Fairfax County. One reason for this is that it’s a big place, and mostly very, very well-off if racially and culturally very, very mixed. But, more and more, people pushed out of DC by gentrification are finding themselves in a kind of diaspora along the bus and metro lines, and what was their community is gone from their lives — which means that our cops, who are used to trying to arrest diplomats for keeping trafficked house servants in their basements — are encountering new stresses on their beats. Still, Natasha McKenna was a woman. And we do not do big protests for dead black women.And by we, I mean all of us.

And by we, I mean America.


McKenna, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 12 years old, died Feb. 8 after a lieutenant at the Fairfax County, Va., Sheriff’s Department delivered four 50,000-volt shocks with a Taser to restrain her while she was having a psychotic episode in custody on Feb. 3. Why she was there in the first place reveals how ill-equipped law-enforcement officers are to effectively interact with and restrain people who have severe mental illness.

(from “When Will We Demand Justice for Natasha McKenna?” by Kristen West Savali, at, 4 May 2015 — it’s a great report, read it.)

Here’s a thing that all police need to know:
How to deal with people who
are not on their meds.
It’s not hard, and violence is not
on the list of best practices.

I like her face, her smile. I’m convinced I would have enjoyed knowing her, if I had the good luck to do so. Schizophrenia, at 12. All this young woman deserved was our collective love and support. She never, it seems, got it.

Aren’t we all tired of finding that we
miss people that we never met
because they ended at wrong
end of the law’s flailing arm?

Along with the men we are mourning so publically, along with that ideal of America whose never-being we continually mourn, in whose name we block traffic and shout poems and link arms, and sometimes set the world on fire, can we not also so publically mourn black women? Can we not say to our black sisters at least that your deaths matter to us, that we do not want to miss you, and that you are worth fire and rage?

Beyonce-Knowles-Met-Gala-2015No. We probably cannot do that.

And here’s why.

As a culture, even as black and white and feminist sub-cultures, we can’t make up our minds to just Jump For Joy that this kind of smart-talented-brave-strong-beauty exists. If the Met Gala red carpet is for any other purpose, I can’t imagine what it would be.

Beyonce’s public persona is a work of art. Her very body is a deliberate work of art. This dress is a work of such mindblowing art and physical discipline that most of the people freaking out about it could never, not even, imagine or create such a thing.

Read the comments on any article about this fancy dress for a fancy party for rich people, for instance, this one from which I lifted the picture. I even read one on Janet Mock’s Facebook page in which some yahoo claimed that Beyonce herself is the reason men can’t take women seriously — they too sexualites, he wrote. You can’t help Stupid, but Stupid here is making my point. We can’t praise black women, or mourn

You can’t help Stupid, but Stupid here is making my point. We can’t praise black women, or mourn them, because we can’t see them as people. Which, by the way, is entirely our own damn fault. Yes, WE, I say because we are way more interested in getting our judge on for Bey’s dress then in getting our justice on for Natasha.

I’m not even a Beyonce fan. I own not one of her songs, though I like them — just not as much as I like Green Day and Florence and the Machine — but I can say this: She is one of the most perfectly beautiful people ever to grace the surface of the Earth, and Givenchy decided to honor that beauty with a dress the lace of which was died to match her skin tone exactly. No one else can wear this thing. Her diet, her workout, her presence, her dress — all that made a real walking, talking, loving, momming, signing better than you ever work of art for one night (of what my inner socialist is mad was a 1% blowout of insulting proportions.)

I hope she takes That Dress and hangs out in the back yard with her daughter blowing bubbles and says to her, “Yes, baby, you can sit on my lap,” because that is the kind of Whole Woman Beyonce is trying to show us, in ways that will not and should not please everyone, is possible.

Black women. Praise them. Mourn them. Stop pretending they are not people. Right? Got it? Okay then.

Call for Proposals: 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Workshops, Themed Readings, and Panel or Roundtable Discussions

DEADLINE: June 30, 2015


Submit online:


Split This Rock invites proposals for workshops, panel and roundtable discussions, and themed group readings for the fifth Split This Rock Poetry Festival, scheduled for April 14-17, 2016, in Washington, DC.

More and more, we understand the ways that issue areas converge: earth justice requires economic and racial justice; LGBT rights and gender equality intertwine; freedom is indivisible. We’re particularly interested this year in seeing proposals that address these intersections, examining the ways that poetry can help us understand the connections and build the alliances necessary to imagine and construct another world.

The festival prides itself on being a place for community building. Interactive proposals that open unique opportunities for participants to connect with one another are of particular interest. When proposing panel discussions and readings, we request that time be set aside for dialogue or a period of questions and answers.

Split This Rock is not an academic conference, but a gathering of individuals from many backgrounds. Please, no academic papers and avoid jargon of all kinds. Thank you!

Virginia Delegates, Tell Me Where You Stand on the ERA. Hmmm?

Dear Virginia,

I don’t know if all the members of the General Assembly believe everything they vote for and against on social policy and civil rights. I can’t. Often enough, they don’t get to vote on these issues to show us what they believe.

Take Delegate Cole for example, and the low-down, dirty story. We can be certain of his stance, but not his reasons. He refused to docket the ERA in the House P&E Committee, so that pretty well means one, maybe two things.

  • he’s against it
  • maybe he was also protecting other members from having to state their positions with votes
    • to be fair, past experience has shown most of the 2015 members of the P&E to be against ratification, so he could have just been saving time on the docket in our eye-blink short legislative session.

Reasons matter however. Reasons are policy. So why is Del. Cole so cool on the full civil and legal personhood of women?

We know his colleague on the P&E, Del. Steve Martin, publicly refers to pregnant women as “hosts,” so he’s willing to forego the idea that women are people at all once they’re pregnant. Sperm really is magical stuff. Combine just one of them with a female ovum, and *bibbity-bobbity-boo* you’re no longer a human with qualities like empathy or free will. After all, this comment is one he made aboutcontraception, not abortion.

If you wrote to Cole during our little campaign this winter, you know one answer. He thinks it would be illegal for the state to act to ratify. He thinks the amendment must resubmitted in Congress, and ratification to begin again from the start. He sent an email to that effect to me, and the whole House P&E (see below).

But, if you challenge that policy with additional, and very strong facts, he backs up very quickly to another reason/policy: Religion.

Eileen Davis of Women Matter pointed out to Cole in conversation that: His constitutional argument is incorrect. Both he and the 1992 Virginia Attorney Generall he cites as authority think that “moot” before the court means moot, period. This is not the case. NOW v. Idaho clearly established that given it was Congress attached the deadline to the amendment (it was not part of the amendment’s own language), then Congress can lift that deadline any time it takes a notion. So, while the AG thought any action to ratify would be a “nullity” (legally, an action that never happened), that’s just an interpretation, and one challenged publicly by equal or stronger authority. (More on this below.)

Also, they don’t have to believe it. They just have to know which position will work to keep their supporters and constituents with with them. For instance, none of our politicians has to believe that the ERA is or could be a stealth legalization of all abortion on demand. All they have to know is that people with money (the Eagle Forum, the Family Foundation) believe it–bunk though the notion may be. Then, all they need a is decent deflection argument that sounds smartish, and they’re good as re-elected.

You see, it’s been explained to Cole that his reading of the law is flatly wrong. I supplied to the WEC this article from William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, which clearly explains the decision in NOW v. Idaho and similar cases. States can ratify and prompt Congress to lift the deadline, or Congress and lift the deadline and let states finish ratification. Davis of Women Matter found and sent to Cole and the P&E Committee the Congressional Research Service report on the ERA and deadlines, which agrees with both the William and Mary paper, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Argument by authority has a lot to do with the status of your authority. You see, the when the Virginia Attorney General in 1992 said that Virginia could not ratify, that was just his feeling on the matter and not a statement with any legal weight or force. If it legal force, all these very intelligent and energetic feminists would be taking another approach. Equally, that the GA has failed/refused to ratify in the past is meaningless in any present effort, other than to say it’s an uphill climb and Cole is unwilling to flatten any of that slope.

When Davis challenged him on these points, he flustered and backed up to muttering something about religious reasons. Let’s take a moment to look at what’s called Natural Law Doctrine. First, it’s not at all what religious conservatives think it is. It’s not God’s law, or common law, but the foundation of the rights we claimed in our Revolution. Unless you are Catholic (or a contemporary conservative), in which case it does refer to a kind of universal divine moral code as described by Thomas Aquinas (who was trying to rectify Catholic theology with the rational philosophies of the Greeks), from whom the latter Enlightenment idea of innately given and inalienable rights evolved, for which we spilled a very great deal of blood but have not yet extended to American women. Still, choosing between these two versions of natural law is a choice, and one based in your own personal weighting of religious and civil social values. In other words, not at all a final authority universally recognized by our nation’s laws or citizens — and more, it doesn’t say much at all about women’s constitutional equality. Indeed, “natural law” is often code for a religious doctrine of the subservience of women and a greater right to life for a fetus than for a woman. To which we have only one thing to say: The Establishment Clause. The 1st Amendment means that I don’t have to live according another’s religious code of conduct. The Founders were deeply familiar with the meaning/s of natural law, so they made that pointed point very clear indeed.

Some will wave the 14th Amendment at us. Of course if you read the text of that amendment, you see that it goes to lengths to emphasize the maleness of those who enjoy its protection. Exclusion of women was archly deliberate. Feminists of the time argued for women’s inclusion and were soundly rebuffed. See the text in Section 2, specifically. It’s the one thing Justices Scalia and Ginsberg agree on.

Are these educated men, and some women, really willing to walk about with these completely wrong ideas in their heads and use them to govern? It would seem so. And that, we know, make no sense. So why would they do it? Either they believe this things, which makes their qualifications questionable. Or, they hold these positions for politically strategic reasons, which makes them deeply cynical characters who are clearly willing to disadvantage more than half the US population for political advantage.

But, we don’t know which bad reason it could be because Del. Cole won’t let them tell us to our faces that we are, and should remain second class citizens with very alienable rights. We are left to hypothesize, and with my full Constitutional equality on the line, I am not inclined to be generous in my imagination. It’s been nearly 100 years, this ratification work. Why should I be generous? At this point, I think the burden is on them to show that and how far our legislators support women.

Most of our delegates don’t state a position on the ERA on their websites, which means either they are against our full incorporation as citizens, or they simply can’t be bothered to care enough to mention the issue. Again, I’m guessing, but I have no other option.

The only logical conclusion is that all the delegates who never had a chance to vote on SJ 216 to Ratify the Equal Right Amendment in 2015, or who can’t be bothered to mention it, are against women’s equality by default. It’s smart for us to assume that. It means we try to put pressure everywhere and see who comes out FOR us, clearly, proudly. Cole has a woman friendly challenger this fall, who’s a woman, and very clearly a supporter of Equal Rights for Women. Kandy Hilliard, VA NOW’s members, y’all shake hands and say hi.

This fall, all of our senators and delegates are up for re-election. We can’t run a new candidate against every conservative in that in that time, and many districts simply aren’t ready to consider an alternative.

But we can insist that they state their position on the issue so the women and friends of women will know, clearly, where their representatives stand. Then we can continue to educate voters until that stand is either a benefit or a liability to the candidate.

So, in emails to our General Assembly members, and letters to the editor in our local papers, let’s make it clear that silence on the matter of women’s full civil equality will no longer be a safe political strategy. If secrecy and political passive aggression are your tools for staying in power, you don’t deserve that power!! Make them tell you who they are to you, to your face. Say it! Say YES ERA!!! #VAYesERA

We will assume that silence and passivity mean politically the same thing as their effect practically: opposition to women’s civil and legal equality to men. That is opposition to:

  • Constitutionally guaranteed, inalienable civil rights as individuals;
  • Full equality in employment, employment benefits, and salary, Equal Pay;
  • Powerful support for Title IX, and stronger mechanisms for addressing campus rape culture;
  • Equal coverage in health care without extra costs for “female complaints” like pregnancy and breast cancer screening;
  • Strict scrutiny of the accused in sex discrimination cases, which means that employers, schools, states, the police, and the federal government would do well to avoid such discrimination in the first place.

These conditions mean fewer women and children in poverty, fewer elderly women in poverty, better educational outcomes for everyone and their kids, and many studies show a stabilization in family life with fewer divorces and less domestic violence and abuse. Why? Less insecurity in general. The ERA is one of the most pro-family, long-term economic stability laws ever proposed.

Here’s the deal. The rights enjoyed by women now are based in a collection of legal loose change. Four Equal Pay acts that have no real enforcement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which conservatives have already begun to weaken now they are in power. Title IX of that act, which was a huge gain for women, now needs new strength in light of various social changes (increased incidence of rape on campus, for example). Title VII of that act forbids sexual harassment in the work place. (Remember all that flap in the 1980s about of sexual harassment? That was about getting law to even be enforced. Not new law, just enforcement of a 20-something year old law.) And it’s the 1974  Equal Credit Opportunity Act that allows women to own their own money, open bank accounts and lines of credit. Again, just a regular law that can be changed or repealed. In all these cases, it’s on the individual woman to sue — because her rights are of limited standing. The Affordable Care Act assures women, for the first time, fairness in premium charges for health insurance, and free preventative screening, etc. But, it was the health care lobby that supported the Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafley back in the day, and they’re not delighted about women’s lower premiums now, believe you me.

All these rights are alienable (can be taken from you), and many are being challenged now. An Equal Rights Amendment puts an end to all that legal and civil insecurity. Forever.

96% of Americans believe that  men and women are equal.

72% believe that equality is already guaranteed by the Constitution.

They are wrong. But …

Lastly, in the Good News Department, we expect some movement on the congressional deadline on ERA ratification in the near future. Stay tuned!!

(sources under the cut)



Delegate Cole, email dated Jan 28, 2015, to Me and the members of the P&E,

from: Mark Cole<>
to: Simone Roberts <my private email>,Dave Albo <>,

“Bob Brink” <>,

Hyland F Fowler <>,

Michael T Futrell <>,

“Algie Howell” <>,

Tim Hugo <>,

Riley Ingram <>,

Chris Jones <>,

K Robert Krupicka <>,

Steve Landes <>,

Jackson H Miller <>,

J Randall Minchew <>,

Israel O’Quinn <>,

John O’Bannon <>,

David I Ramadan <>,

Margaret Ransone <>,

Sam Rasoul <>,

L Nick Rush <>,

Mark Sickles <>,

Joseph R Yost <>

date: Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 3:15 PM
subject: RE: Bring HJ495 to the Floor for a Vote


Thank you for contacting me regarding the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.  While I certainly support equal rights for all, the ratification period for the current ERA expired in 1982 and the proposed amendment can no longer be lawfully considered by the Virginia General Assembly.

I know there are cases where amendments were ratified long after they were submitted to the states for ratification, however, the ERA is the only proposed amendment that Congress set a deadline for ratification.  The original deadline was 1979 which was extended by Congress to 1982.  When the second deadline passed, Congress declined to extend it again, thereby killing the amendment.

The passing of the deadline has been recognized by the US Supreme Court.  On October 4, 1982, in NOW v. Idaho, 459 U.S. 809 (1982), the U.S. Supreme Court declared the matter moot on the grounds that the ERA had expired.

Additionally, on February 3, 1994, the Virginia Attorney General issued a formal opinion stating as follows: “Because the Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified within the original or the extended time limit established by Congress for its ratification, it is no longer before the states for ratification, and any action by the General Assembly to ratify it now would be a nullity”.

I would like to note that the Virginia General Assembly has declined to ratify the ERA on the grounds that it has expired numerous times in recent years, including the 2014 session when the House P & E Elections subcommittee tabled Senate Joint Resolution 78 and the year before when similar measures were defeated by the House Rules Committee.

During last year’s Subcommittee hearing, we received testimony concerning a novel legal theory, called the “Three-State Theory”, suggesting that three more states could validly ratify the now null and void 1972 ERA and that then Congress could by fiat revive the proposed amendment.  After consulting with council [sic], we could not find any of this theory sustainable as a matter of law. When it comes to amending the greatest source of secular law in the history of the World, our Subcommittee felt it had to demand legal precision.  Additionally, this theory ignores the fact that five states that had ratified ERA later rescinded their ratification.

The Subcommittee was urged to set aside legal analysis and adherence to law and “just do what’s right”, however we do not have the lawful authority to do so.

In order for the General Assembly to be able to consider the ERA, the US Congress needs to resubmit the amendment to the states for ratification.  I recommend you contact your congressional representatives and encourage them to resubmit the amendment to the states.

Again, thank you for contacting me.

Mark L. Cole

Delegate, 88th District

Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fredericksburg, and Fauquier

Eileen Davis, Email dated FEb. 24, 2015.

The anti ERA folks are dusting off the ineffective Equal Pay act of 1964 as reason that a constitutional ERA is “not needed” A limited law, (as evidenced by the 40 years well documented pay disparity), it remains a “nail without  a hammer” like all the other incremental laws regarding women’s equality. The equal pay actually affirms the need for an equal rights amendment b/c it shows how much a constitutional amendment is needed to provide constitutional support and render them enforceable. In addition the equal pay act was never sold as a fix, but rather a first step:

in 1963  Pres.Kennedy called the legislation a “first step” and stressed that “much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity…” Kennedy said, “[O]ur journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

2015 we’re still at it…


Women Matter, Press Release, Feb. 20, 2015.

Del. Cole denies motion to docket Women’s Equality bill SJ 216 and spurns democratic duty

Feb. 20 Richmond, VA – Delegate Johnny S. Joannou made a motion in Friday’s Privileges and Election Committee to docket SJ 216. The motion was seconded by Delegate Sam Rasoul. Dozens of ERA supporters who had lined the hallway with constitutions in their hands hoped SJ 216 would finally be heard.

The Chair of the committee Delegate Mark Cole refused to entertain the motion and continues to refuse to docket SJ 216.

Freeda Cathcart, Legislative Chair of the GFWC Va. Blue Ridge Region, said, “Women are getting the message that Delegate Cole doesn’t care about them or our democracy.”

Candy Graham co-founder, said, “Mark Cole is a one-man roadblock to democracy.”

Eileen Davis is asking Delegate Cole and Speaker Howell “to give women the dignity of debate” by allowing SJ 216 a hearing in the House during the 2015 General Assembly session which ends on February 28.

Senate Joint Resolution 216 that passed out of the Senate with bi-partisan support last week. Seven of the Virginia Senators who voted for the bill are lawyers. Two of the Virginia Senators are women and lawyers, one a Republican and one a Democrat.

Last year Delegate Cole assigned the ERA bill that passed out of the Senate to a House sub-committee. Supporters for women’s equality wonder why Cole is refusing to docket the bill this year.