March 27th Meeting Minutes

Equal Rights Maine Meeting Minutes of 3.27.17

Attending: Sue Snider, Sherry Streeter, Robin Lincoln, Jean Fogelberg, Linda Nelson, Lyn Mayewski, Posie Cowan and Nancy Murdock

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

The Website and Facebook page for Equal Rights Maine: We now have a Facebook page This shows that even the most reluctant social media user can get with it if she needs to! When our Outreach Letter is sent out in April, launching our work beyond the Blue Hill peninsula, social media has a major role to play. We are ready for it. Check it out and suggestions are welcome.

The website continues to be updated (see Be Informed/What’s Happening NOW and Resources) and is now linked to the Facebook page. You can see the shared Networking Log under the Membership tab to review all networking calls made by the group.

Networking Calls to women’s groups in Maine: One networking call resulted in an invitation to attend the Judiciary Committee hearing at the Maine State House in Augusta, where the new state ERA bill currently before the Maine State Legislature is being considered. On April 6th, Posie and several others from our group will attend, with questions and comments prepared. Although the state ERA is in no way a replacement for the amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is an important step toward gender equality, shows a commitment in Maine to that equality and we support it.

Advocacy calls to our Members of Congress: Susan reported that the ERMaine meeting with Rep. Poliquin staff will take place during the week of April 24th. Future meetings with our other three Members of Congress, Sen. Collins, Sen. King and Rep. Pingree (who have, in the past, expressed support for the ERA) will be planned during the next few months.

New Information: The stunning news of ratification of the ERA by the Nevada Legislature on March 22, 2017 brought the ERA to national attention! The date was no coincidence, 45 years after the U.S. Congress passed the ERA in 1972. It is a bold way forward: two states left to ratify, the ‘rescinded’ states with no legal precedent to rescind, the next step after ratification would be a vote in Congress.

To clarify, our group supports both ERA ratification strategies before the current 115th Congress. They are a (now) Two-State Strategy and a ‘Startover’ Strategy for ratification. How the bills go through Congress, what the legal ramifications are, where the best likelihood lies, are in the political arena, a murky place to be right now. We are supporting the ERA however it is best accomplished and that means supporting both approaches at this point. We will keep you posted. For more information on this subject, look at the Articles section of our website.

A note from ERMaine to MPBN’s Maine Calling on the day of the Nevada ratification produced a quick response with an invitation to take part in an April 4th show on Women’s History in Maine. Tune in between 1 and 2pm (more precisely, Posie is scheduled for a call at 1:23) and hear Equal Rights Maine speak up for the ERA on this program.

Going Live: The attending group reviewed a draft of our Outreach Letter, minor changes have been made and it is ready to go. The full Equal Rights Maine group will receive the letter soon, with the hope that all of us can then embed the letter in our own emails, personalize it as we see fit, and send it out to our contacts. The purpose of broadcasting this letter is to raise awareness, inform and gain supporters. We need numbers with us to be heard.

Next Steps: Outreach Letters introducing Equal Rights Maine and gathering supporters should be sent by mid-April, as the letter includes the announcement of the Equal Means Equal screening on May 4th.

Sherry and Robin are planning for the Equal Means Equal May 4th screening at 6:30pm with details to follow. A list of invitees is being assembled, including our Maine Members of Congress as well as the many networking groups we have contacted. Send suggestions.

Future possible screenings of Equal Means Equal, in addition to Real Pizza in Bar Harbor, the Blue Hill Library and the Reversing Falls Sanctuary are the Portland Museum of Art, The Center for Ecology-Based Economy in Norway, Maine and The Gem Theater in Bethel.

Our next meeting is scheduled for April 14th 2017, in the Howard Room at the Blue Hill Library, at 2:30pm. Following the regular meeting, at 4:00 the group scheduled to meet with Rep. Poliquin staff in Bangor will continue in a planning session.

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