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By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates

On days like this, political winds feel determinative. They affect the pace of our progress toward justice and equality. They can fan flames of hate and oppression and threaten immediate relief for millions in crisis across the nation. In an excruciatingly close election like the unfolding Presidential race, these political winds reveal critical work ahead needed to unify the nation on issues ranging from public health to gender and racial justice to economic recovery.

But as we grapple with and strategize about the various scenarios presented by Election 2020, remember this: political tides do not determine our movement’s goals. They simply force us to be more creative about strategy. …


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By Noreen Farrell & Delia Coleman, Equal Rights Advocates

The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett would put our country in grave danger. We risk losing progress made, yes, but worse than that, we risk making her regressive politics the national precedent. We won’t mince words — Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s politics and record are a disaster for working women and their families, students who experience discrimination in education, the LGBTQ+ community, and voting access for communities of color.

With ACB’s brief but telling record (because we could glean nothing from her lack of forthright responses during her confirmation hearing), we find the personification of several key policy threats to civil rights and economic security: anti-abortion extremism, anti-Affordable Care Act dogma, a sympathy for those who would take away the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, and a stubborn refusal to defend basic voting rights for Black Americans. …


By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates

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This week in 2016, the public heard for the first time the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape. In it, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump boasted about sexually assaulting unnamed women, with no consequences.

Many thought the horrifying recording would disqualify Donald Trump from the presidency in the court of public opinion. Surely, a person who bragged about sexual assault, who had 26 assault allegations lodged against him, who thought it was all so funny, surely this person would not be elected to office.


By Isha Khanzode

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Throughout the past year and a half, a blind search for justice after sexual assault has revealed itself to me as a Sisyphean process: a constant pushing of a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down when it reaches the top. At the very least, I’m lucky the boulder hasn’t crushed me on its multiple trips back down the hill like it has with other student survivors of sexual violence.

The forces that put me in that boulder-pushing place, however, have forever tainted my view of the “justice” system. I thought that after being the victim of a crime, there would be proper channels for justice and retribution for me, but I’ve learned that is often not the case when it comes to sexual assault. There are paths to justice, but they are often blocked by unnecessary barriers of resistance. …


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On Sept. 18, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender justice and equity, died at age 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Ginsburg’s precedent-setting career changed how women were treated in the workplace. Her legal fights challenged and defeated hundreds of state and federal laws restricting the autonomy of women. …


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As Black and Brown communities have been saying for centuries, America’s policing, criminal punishment system, and prison industrial complex are rooted in racist attempts to continue our country’s legacy of slavery, oppression, and segregation. These systems cause daily, life-long, and intergenerational harm to people of color — especially Black women, men, and nonbinary people — their families, and communities.

State-sanctioned racist violent policing is part of the same systems of oppression that sanction sexual violence against women of color in workplaces and schools across our country — that steal their wages, make them work in unsafe conditions, deny equal educational opportunities, medical benefits, raises, and promotions, and threaten their livelihoods if they speak out against any of these injustices. These systems are inextricably linked under the same goal: to uphold the violent, oppressive forces of white supremacy and patriarchy. …


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By Monika Dymerski, Policy Fellow, Equal Rights Advocates

In the age of COVID-19, elected officials are deciding how to respond and provide relief to their communities. One response has been to implement policies to compensate workers in frontline and hazardous jobs. With over 80 different proposals across the country, hazard pay initiatives illustrate nuances in state and local control, as well as differences in who is included in relief efforts and, most importantly, who is left out. As is evident with these hazard pay proposals, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed new and existing structural inequities in the workplace.

What is hazard pay?

Hazard pay, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, is “additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship.” In the context of a pandemic, hazard pay policies may apply to employees who work in unsafe conditions, interact more frequently with the greater public, or who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 during their normal course of work. Under these measures, such employees are entitled to pay increases, whether that be a one-time stipend, as provided for in Southside, Alabama; a temporary hourly increase, allocated in state policies including Mount Clemens, Michigan; or additional pay in the form of a “Hero’s Recognition Award” as seen in New Haven, Connecticut. …


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By Kel O’Hara, Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow at Equal Rights Advocates

The first set of protests I attended were on my college campus, when other students and I were advocating for better Title IX policies. I next found myself taking to the streets in New York City after Eric Garner’s death spurred a wave of marches in support of black lives. …


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By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates

As an organization dedicated to gender, race, and economic justice, Equal Rights Advocates stands in solidarity with the brave activists, community leaders, and youth of color in every state who have taken to the streets to protest vicious police violence. COVID-19, the growing authoritarianism in the U.S., and the relentless violence unleashed on Black communities demand that we, as an organization and as individuals, resist the comfort of saying “This isn’t our fight.” If we say we are for justice, we cannot be comfortable. We choose a side. The side against police brutality. …


This Black History Month, Equal Rights Advocates is honoring past and current clients who are making history by speaking out for change in their workplaces.

These women involved in the following 4 cases chose to speak out against pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment in their workplaces — not just for themselves, but for women workers everywhere.

1. Women Workers at Aerospace Company BAE

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In our 2016 case Aviles v. BAE Systems, a group of incredible women made history when they successfully sued their employer, international defense and aerospace company BAE Systems, for gender discirmination and a very sexually hostile work environment.

Their case became the first ever Title VII gender discrimination class action lawsuit to be settled and approved in that court in Eastern Virginia. The women received $3 million in back pay, and BAE was required to significantly change its discrimination and harassment policies, helping countless women who worked there in the future. …

About

Equal Rights Advocates

We are civil rights champions, fighting since 1974 to expand and protect the opportunities of all women and girls.

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