February 27th Meeting Minutes

Equal Rights Maine meeting minutes of 2.27.17

Attending: Sue Snider, Sherry Streeter, Robin Lincoln, Jean Fogelberg, Sally Stone, Leda Beth Gray, Linda Nelson, Posie Cowan and Nancy Murdock

Our meeting was held in the Basement Room at the Blue Hill Library from 2:30 – 4:00

The website for Equal Rights Maine www.equalrightsmaine.org is being updated and expanded regularly. Jean reported on our new Steering Committee Portal, under the Membership tab, for notices, comments, questions that are for our group’s use. There you will find Meeting Minutes, Upcoming dates, Comments Blog and our Networking Log. On the public part of the website, check What’s Happening NOW under the Be Informed tab for new information. Check for new Articles under the Resources tab. The group discussed our search for additional photos for the website to include: Republican women and past Presidents in support, ERA marches from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and contemporary young women and men of Maine.

Networking Calls to women’s groups in Maine: Susan Snider reported on calls last month. The individual Contact forms are being filled out for each call and collected in a Networking Log, which we will see in the Steering Committee Portal. Robin reported on attending an event at one of our groups, the Woman’s Fund in Portland, a very effective way to make contact and find support. The circles widen.

Advocacy calls to our Member of Congress: Susan reported on contact with Poliquin’s office. A meeting is being scheduled with his staff in Bangor. This is requiring patience and persistence and we have both. We will be contacting the other three offices as well: Pingree, Collins and King, for face to face meetings with staff, and, eventually, we hope, with the Members in person.

New Information: Sherry reported that Linda Washburn is planning an ERA radio program on WERU at the end of May. We are expecting Posie and Kathy Bonk to be invited speakers on the show. At Lunafest on April 27th we will have our single page Talking Points available.

We are on for the Equal Means Equal film showing on May 4th at the Alamo. Sherry and Robin have great ideas for the evening. It will be a ‘launching’ of our group and a time to build support for the ERA in Maine. There will be a brief introduction of Equal Rights Maine before the film and an informal debriefing afterward. Later screenings (in the summer/fall) at the Blue Hill Library and RFS are being considered as well.

Check out www.eraaction.org for the status of ERA bills in the unratified states.

Nancy agreed to contact Jennifer Rooks at MPBN about our work advocating for the ERA.

Robin recommends Why the ERA Failed, by Mary Frances Berry.

And, ironically, with that book in mind, we have been asked by Equal Means Equal’s Kamala Lopez to write a rebuttal to the challenges made by the Eagle Forum (Phyllis Schlafly’s group) since the 1970’s. The arguments are much the same, the Eagle Forum is still operating and circulating its materials, as the ERA gains support, again. It is an interesting exercise in finding appropriate ways to respond to emotional, misleading and dated claims. It is also a good way to connect across the states as the ratification discussion heats up!

Next Steps:

Outreach Letters introducing Equal Rights Maine: We discussed the timing of letters from our individual group members to each of our circles of contacts. Nancy will be working on a basic letter we can use, modify, or add to, in writing to our friends, family, contacts. We will review a draft of this letter at our March meeting and plan to carry out the letter campaign in April. We should have the Equal Rights Maine Facebook page operating by then, so we can use social media as well.

Our next meeting is scheduled for March 27th 2017, in the Howard Room at the Blue Hill Library, at 2:30pm.

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