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April 28, 2023

VIDEO: Pressley Responds to Senate’s Vote on Equal Rights Amendment

Pressley, Bush, Frankel Led ERA Caucus, Dem. Women’s Caucus in March to Senate Prior to Vote

Video of March to Senate | Press Conference Remarks | Presser Photos

WASHINGTON – At a Capitol Hill press conference today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Co-Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Caucus, responded to the Senate’s vote on S.J.Res.4, the Senate companion to her joint resolution with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to remove the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the ERA and positively affirm it as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution received 51 votes of support, short of the 60 necessary for passage in the Senate.

Earlier today, Rep. Pressley, along with ERA Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) and Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22), led the ERA Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus members in marching to the Senate chamber to demand passage of the bill.

Full video of Rep. Pressley’s remarks is available here and a transcript is available below. Video of the lawmakers’ march to the Senate is available here.

Transcript: Rep. Pressley Responds to Senate’s Vote on Equal Rights Amendment
U.S. Senate Swamp
April 27, 2023

You know, having been an aide before I was an elected official for some 16 years, you know, very often our aides write these incredible talking points for us. And then as Members, we get up here and just adlib.

I’m gonna do a mix because I am a little emotional.

I understand Leader Schumer very much when he said that we’re not going to curse the darkness, but I want to talk about what it felt like to be in the Senate chamber today.

Myself, Congresswoman Cori Bush — who is founding Co-Chair of the ERA Caucus in the House, the first in the history of the House — we led a House delegation of our colleagues to sit in the Senate chamber today when the vote took place.

It was very demoralizing to learn that there were colleagues who did not even deem this issue worthy of debate. It was incredibly hurtful to see those colleagues come in to vote today and defiantly put their thumb down as if they were not birthed by women and don’t have women in their own families or daughters that they are raising.

I wish that I could say I’m disappointed. But in order to be disappointed, I would have to be surprised. It is simply another day in this place. Another day of obstruction of justice, of the undermining of democracy, of demoralizing and dangerous attacks against women.

And yet despite it all, we ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around. Because the women of this country, sadly, are battle tested. We’re battle tested because we have had to soldier on. We have taken care of our families, our communities, this democracy.

In the midst of and in the residual aftermath of policy violence, I would venture to guess that you have grown tired and weary of our statistics of all the disparate treatment that women experience in this country. Imagine how tired we are of living them.

But I am emboldened in this moment and grateful for the partnership and leadership of Senator Cardin, Majority Leader Schumer, Congresswoman Bush, our Senate colleagues, and advocates.

And I also want to give a shout out to Congresswoman Maloney and Congresswoman Speier because they were very intentional as they passed the baton in this fight to two Black women. And those two Black women are leading and centering those who have historically had our contributions erased from history and who were not reflected in the founding document of this country.

So this is a movement now being led by and centering the most marginalized who are in the greatest need of these protections and rights. It’s been over 100 years now. Some might think that’s a testament to our resilience. I think it’s a pathetic commentary.

For 100 years now a broad, diverse, multiracial intergenerational of justice seekers, table shakers and movement builders have been organizing relentlessly to enshrine gender equality into the highest law of the land.

We’ve done so because for too long our Constitution has failed to recognize the dignity, humanity and equality of women, LGBTQ folks and other marginalized people. I’m so proud to join Senator Cardin, our colleagues in introducing a joint resolution to remove the arbitrary deadline imposed by Congress on ratification of the ERA. Our bill would enshrine the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America at a time when we face daily sexism, pregnancy discrimination, pay inequities, sexual violence and persistent legislated attacks on our bodily autonomy. Our bill is essential.

But once again, the Jim Crow era rules of the United States Senate are obstructing justice and LGBTQ folks and other marginalized communities. Today, the obstruction of the ERA by some callous Senate Republicans is only the latest example of a damning failure to do the bare minimum to protect our fundamental rights at defining moments in our nation’s history.

The Senate’s failure to pass our bill means constitutional inequality. The daily indignities of disparities that come with it will remain the status quo. For now. We ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.

Despite this devastating setback, we remain resolved and determined. As Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress and a key strategist to the fight to pass the ERA once said, “It is time to sweep away these relics of the past and set further generations free of them.”

Her words were true 50 years ago, and they remain true today.

On days like this, I can’t help but to think of our 14-year-old daughter Cora. She asked me why at every rally and march we chant “when we fight, we win.”

I told her, “Baby girl, because it’s the truth.” I will not be made a liar to my kid. When we fight, we win. And I do not want my daughter or any daughter, to continue to live in a country where we have normalized and internalized the disparate treatment of women and LGBTQ folks and disparities that follow.

This fight isn’t over. I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with this coalition.