Walk the Talk: Remove the ERA Deadline

Who:          Helene de Boissiere Swanson, Founder – Katrina’s Dream

What:        Pilgrimage to Remove the Deadline on the E.R.A. 

Why:          To Petition the Senate to vote  “Yea!” on S.J. Res. 6

When:       July 19, 2020, through August 26, 2020.

Where:     Start – Mailboxes on 5th, Park Slope, New York 
                      Destination – St. Saviour’s Church/Mt. Cadillac, Bar Harbor, Maine

Contact:  Tammy Simkins, Co-Director – ERA Action
                     Telephone: (740) 701-9137  Email: tammy.simkins@gmail.com

PARK SLOPE, NY –  On July 19, 2020, Helene de Boissiere –Swanson started her third pilgrimage, Congress – Remove the Deadline on the E.R.A. Leaving from her late brother’s recently closed business, Mailboxes on 5th, in Park Slope, New York, heading to St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor, Maine, where her mother-in-law, the Rev. Katrina Swanson, one of the “Philadelphia Eleven“, celebrated the Liturgy in Thanksgiving for the Ordination of Women, Swanson is prayerfully petitioning Congress to remove the deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment.

Advocates across the nation are encouraged to petition their senators to co-sponsor S.J. Res. 6, the resolution which removes the deadline on the E.R.A. and vote, “Yea!”.

Since 2017, three states have ratified the E.R.A. They are Nevada (2017), Illinois (2018), and Virginia (2020).  On February 13, 2020, the House passed joint resolution, H.J. Res. 79. and when the Senate votes “Yea!” on S.J. Res. 6 removing the deadline, then E.R.A. will become the law of the land.

On July 19, 2012, William Swanson mailed 1000+ postcards calling on the United States President to urge Congress to pass the E.R.A.  Photo Credit: Helene Swanson

The Walk the Talk pilgrimages were planned in three parts. On Swanson’s first pilgrimage, A Sentimental Journey began on July  19, 2012, in Seneca Falls, N.Y. – 164th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention where the Declaration of Sentiments was executed,  The pilgrimage began with Morning Prayer at Trinity Episcopal Church celebrated by Rev. Robert T. Coolidge. The small group then proceeded to the Women’s Rights National History Park for a blessing by Coolidge. Afterward, Helene and her husband, William, headed over to the Post Office, mailing off 1000+ postcards addressed to the President of the United States. As she walked Swanson met many sharing the urgency of passing the E.R.A  which ignited a spark across the country for the renewed effort. The walk ended at St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation, Washington, DC,  on August 26, 2012.

Swanson’s second pilgrimage, A Quest for Equality started at the Golden Gate Bridge on March 8, 2014.  Swanson met with legislators on the state and federal level.  It was in Nevada that she met activist Janette Dean.  Dean testified at a 2015 Nevada legislative hearing crediting Swanson’s pilgrimage for inspiring her to organize efforts for Nevada to ratify the E.R.A.  In 2017, Nevada became the first state to ratify in the 21st century.

Molly Fishman, a Senior Legislative Assistant at Representative Jackie Speier Office, reads Speier’s statement. Last row left to right: Taylar Nuevelle, Charles Clymer, Karen Teagarden, Bill Van Horne, Deirdre Menard, and E. Faye Williams.  Second row left to right: Jacqueline Natier Hopewell, Jocelyn Wang, Helene de Boissiere-Swanson,   Eileen Davis, Betty Foillard and Gail Kulick,. Front row left to right Sandy Osetreich and Molly Fishman. Photo Credit: Longfei Zhang

The pilgrimage concluded with a service celebrated by Bishop Joe Morris Doss at St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation in Washington, DC,  Doss blessed the advocates accompanying Swanson on the final four miles of the 7,000-mile pilgrimage and historic march on Women’s Equality Day to the U.S. Capitol where they rallied for passage of the E.R.A.  Statements were issued by Senator Cardin and Representative Speier, and former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman elected as a primate in the Anglican Communion, Schori’s statement read,  ” The Equal Rights Amendment is long past due.  This nation’s founders proclaimed their belief in the fundamental dignity and equality of all “men,” when they meant white land-owning males who had reached the age of majority.  We have struggled over the centuries since to expand these basic rights to all citizens of this nation, including African-Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and women.  Discrimination under the law is untenable for Christians, who proclaim that all human beings are made in the divine image, and that “God made them male and female.”  Episcopalians profess to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.  I urge all people to do what you can to see that three more states ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, so that ALL may be protected under the law from unconscionable discrimination.”


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