Elected officials need to hear support for ERA ratification directly from their constituents. Without your input, they will likely defer. Calling your legislator to register your support is crucial, and you might get everything you need over the phone. But in some cases, an in-person meeting is the only way to change an ill-informed "No" to a supportive "Yes."
HERE'S HOW TO DO IT
- Begin with their staff. A few positive interactions with staff personnel can make a HUGE difference in convincing legislators to support your efforts. Start with an introductory phone call to inquire where your legislator stands. If they are supportive, thank them effusively and ask that the legislator sign-on as a sponsor as soon as possible (they can do so at anytime). If they are not supportive, ask if they know how you might go about changing their mind. That might require a meeting.
- Bring diverse constituents. Legislators need to understand that the ERA will benefit all citizens. Show them the ERA has broad support. Encourage men to come, young adults and students of all ages. The next generation has the most to gain.
- Be disciplined in your messaging. Communication should be positive, bipartisan, inclusive and single-issue. Don't get off-topic onto other issues. Focus on the ERA.
- Share your story. Explain why the ERA matters to you, and how it affects you, your family and your community. Maybe you have a 1970's memory of the ERA; or you've faced discrimination at work; or aspirations for your kids. Make it personal.
- Be timely. You can contact both legislators now — House and Senate. If the legislature is not in session, you could meet with them locally. Their staff will know the best time and place for a meeting.
- Know your material. There are links below that will help you better understand the issue.
- Bring information with you. The ERA Brochure listed below can be printed out, tri-folded, and left behind for later review.
- Let us know of your meeting. The earlier we can identify specific legislators as either supportive or not, the better chance we'll have of devising a strategy to get the votes we need.
If you need some coaching, Barbara Hammes of Beaufort has met with her legislator and is available to help talk you thru the process. She can be reached at email@example.com.
RESOURCES TO HELP
- Find Your Legislator
- Equal Means ERA Brochure
- SC House Judiciary Committee Chair, Peter McCoy, statement in support of the ERA
- American Bar Association letter supporting South Carolina's ratification
- Strom Thurmond Newsletter supporting the ERA 14.10.1972
- Frequently Asked Questions from the Alice Paul Institute
- ERA Opposition Talking Points from Equal Means ERA 10.2019
- ERA Ratification Issues from Equal Means ERA 1/2020
For questions or concerns, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.