ERA, It’s Time

Equal Rights Amendment: It’s Time

I hope many of you were able to watch the recent PBS American Experience special documentary “The Vote” on the fight to pass the 19th Amendment extending the right to vote to women. While Jeannette Rankin and Montana did not feature prominently in this telling of the story, “The Vote” underscored the incredible struggle and courage of those involved in gaining political rights for women. To paraphrase suffragist Alice Paul after the 19th Amendment became law, this is only the first step toward equality for women.

Alice Paul went on to introduce the ERA amendment in 1923.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the

United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Nearly fifty years after it was first introduced, the ERA finally passed the House and Senate with the required two-thirds majority in 1972. The amendment was then sent for ratification to the states, but only 35 of the 38 states needed had ratified it by the time the Congressionally imposed deadline of 1982 expired. Continue reading

Time to Commit to DOING and BEING Better…


Time to Commit to DOING and BEING Better…

Dear friends,
Like many of you, I have been learning to sit with discomfort. My heart is cracked open as I hear my BIPOC neighbors tell me stories of what it is like to live in black and brown bodies — stories that until now I have had the privilege to ignore. Hearing them is uncomfortable. But having to live them is unconscionable. So the least I can do is open myself to the discomfort, sit with it and let it teach me.

A few weeks ago, we mentioned our desire to start a book or discussion group and several of you expressed interest. It is important for there to be a space for us as white people to do the work of becoming anti-racist. This group can be an important start to that work. We are targeting early August to begin and will likely do so via zoom at least initially. Meanwhile we are reading, listening and learning. I encourage you to do the same and I hope you will consider joining us and even inviting a friend. In the words of Winona LaDuke, “there is no social change fairy”! There is only us. The work is messy and uncomfortable but it is what we are called to do. And this, my friends, is the time to say yes because black and brown lives more than matter…Betsy

Oxygen Masks

Dear Friends,
I was recently reminded by a friend that there is a reason why on an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting your neighbor. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the world but I have found a huge amount of comfort in this reminder in the last few weeks. For me, this speaks true on several levels. First, it is the obvious reminder that we must care for ourselves. Second, our work doesn’t end once we are breathing and safe. The goal of this policy is that ultimately everyone on the plane is breathing and as safe as they can be.

I have heard it more times than I can count, “What a crazy year we are having!” In reality, most of what has gone on in 2020 is not new or particularly unique. So what is different this time? There are so many reasons that contribute to what is happening this year in the United States but the simple answer is more people are remembering to help neighbors put on their oxygen mask. There is so much work to do, masks to help with, and many communities that don’t have masks at all.

So Is your oxygen mask secure today? If not, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it is, don’t be afraid to offer help.

Carol Schwartz

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19th, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger issued an order stating, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

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Happy Birthday Jeannette!

June 11, 2020
“Until all the factors that make up a social problem are taken into consideration, no social problem can be solved, certainly not until primary factors such as fears and desires of the masses of the people are taken into consideration. To work out the problems of cooperation between the nations, that cooperation must be based on all essential factors making up the problem of each nation. The international group cannot proceed on the basis of the desires of the individuals forming the group but upon the dominate attitude of the component groups. Therefore, a program that is genuine must take into consideration the actual facts that make up the conditions in this country as well as in every other. It must be based on the thinking and fears and desires of the masses of the people, for in the end we must agree with Jefferson to the extent that governments derive their just power from the consent of the people.

Our peacetime expenditures for war are greater than any time in our history. Europe is spending for war far beyond what they can afford. Some may come before you and tell you which nation is going to attack which nation, and why, and when, and so on. This is all beyond me, but there is one thing I do know, that the nations of the world are going to be like the little boy who received a gun and diary for Christmas. The day after Christmas he wrote in his diary: “Snowing, can’t go hunting.” The next day he wrote: “Snowing yet; can’t go hunting.” and the next day: “Snowing still, shot grandma.” We don’t know whether the nations are going to shoot grandmother or the baby, but we know that they are going to shoot and it is for all of us to do all in our power to prevent the catastrophe.”

Jeannette Rankin
Excerpt from Mass Action and it’s Effects on International Cooperation for World Peace
Address given at the Institute of Public Affairs in Charlottesville, Virginia July 8, 1937