Members of Rise and Resist gathered with hundreds of folks at Washington Square Park on March 7 to recognize International Women’s Day, which is on March 8, and advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to be added to the US constitution.
Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union kicked off the march at Washington Square Park, where she invoked the horrifying story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which left 146 individuals dead — including 123 women and girls — this month in 1911 after they were trapped inside by doors that were locked due to inhumane working conditions.
Lieberman, who argued that New York State must pass an expansive state Equal Rights Amendment in order to build a more equitable state, emphasized that historic events like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire can inform folks of the importance of continuing to push for women’s rights in the modern era.
“It’s always easier to see what was so wrong in the past — but reckoning with what’s going on in the present is a lot harder,” Lieberman said in her speech.
Local LGBTQ activists including TS Candii and Cathy Marino-Thomas both delivered remarks at Washington Square Park, as well.
Marchers made their way from Washington Square Park to the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which is at 23–29 Washington Place between Greene Street and Washington Square East. Nancy Hagans, who is on the board of the New York State Nurses Association, delivered remarks there, and marchers then proceeded to Union Square, where Pamela Sneed, a poet, performance artist, actress, activist, and teacher, recited two powerful poems.
The march came just days after a federal district judge on March 5 issued a ruling stipulating that the ERA’s ratification deadline “expired long ago.” Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia, which all recently ratified the ERA, had issued a complaint stressing that the deadline to ratify the ERA had not yet passed because the amendment itself failed to specify a deadline. A three-fourths majority of states must ratify constitutional amendments to finalize them.
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