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Latina spearheads media campaign to get Congress to pass Equal Rights Amendment

LatinaLista — On Thursday, August 26, some women around the country celebrated Women’s Equality Day in honor of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote.

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The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by Congress in June 1919 and became law when the Tennessee legislature became the 36th state to ratify it, approving it by only a one-vote margin. The amendment officially became law on Aug. 26, 1920. In 1971, Congress declared Aug. 26 as national Women’s Equality Day.

Only some women celebrated it because the majority of women and girls don’t think it’s such a big deal — especially those who have grown up taught to feel equal, if not superior, to men.

But feelings are one thing and the law is quite another.

Right now, the U.S. Constitution doesn’t recognize women as being equal to men. Since the 1970s, there’s been an effort to complete the legal equality of women to men in the United States by proposing passage of the E.R.A. or Equal Rights Amendment.

The last time it came up for a vote in Congress it was 1982 and missed ratification by only three states. Yet, sadly, 75 percent of women and girls think the E.R.A. is already law.

Without the E.R.A., women are not legally entitled to the same rights or protections as men.

The first – and still the only – right that the Constitution specifically affirms as equal for women and men is the right to vote.

The idea that the rights of any woman can be legally challenged in a court of law makes some women angry enough to continue fighting for passage of the E.R.A. One of those women is Latina filmmaker and actress Kamala Lopez.

Based in Los Angeles, Lopez has signed on to the new national campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Her mission is to “create twenty short films over the next year to create the public awareness necessary to force legislators to bring this matter to a vote in Congress in 2011.”

Her first three-minute video has been released and can be found on the Latina Lista Network.


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