FULL JUSTICE AND FULL EQUALITY
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
We want to be in the US Constitution
We want equality under the law
We want to be full citizens
We want equal wages
We want equal health care
We want justice and that includes equality
If this was about men, it would have been done by now.
But this is about including women in the US Constitution.
THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY NOW
if this was the goal of Martin & Coretta
if this was the goal of Malcolm and Betty
if this was the goal of Oprah
if this was the goal of Barack Obama
if this was the goal of Bill & Hillary
If Democracy and Equality was the goal, this would be done by now.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY
This would have been done by now if this was YOUR goal.
I am speaking here today to ask you to make it YOUR goal.
Of course you are going to ask what will it take?
What will it take to be explicitly included in the US Constitution?
We have been working on it for 92 years and, let’s be honest.
SO far, Nothing has worked.
The good news is I have an answer,
IT IS GOING TO TAKE THE NEXT BRAVE THING.
I am certain that it is going to take each of us and all of us doing THE NEXT BRAVE THING
FOR ME it was publicly fasting for 37 days and disturbing the President.
For Mary Lee it was chaining herself to the State Senate doors.
For Helene it is walking across America and sleeping by the side of the road.
For Patricia Arquette it is talking about it at the Oscars and the U.N.
For Kamala Lopez it is making a documentary film.
For Jenni it is hosting this event.
- For you it might be reading the US Constitution
- For you it might be learning the amendment by heart
- For you it might be telling 5 women friends they are not in the constitution
- For you it might be asking your employer about fair pay policy
- For you it might be not laughing at a joke about women
- For you it might be telling your daughters they will need to get this done
- For you it might be telling your sons about their privilege
- For you it might be sending a postcard to your Senator and Congressman to support the ERA
- For you it might be forming a prayer circle for wage equality
- For you it might be asking at work about maternity leave and childcare
- For you it might be objecting to breast feeding only allowed in the bathroom
- For you it might be asking how much it is to insure a woman v. a man
- For you it might be refusing unequal wages
- For you it might be voting only for pro-ERA candidates
- For you it might be tracking the ERA bills
- For you it might be marching
- For you it might be organizing
- For you it might be lobbying
- For you it might be running for office
- For you it is the next BRAVE thing, whatever that is FOR YOU.
You cannot measure what is brave by comparing yourself to anyone.
Only you can say what that might be
but let me assure you that each of us feel the same fear, the same amount of fear.
The next brave thing is waiting on the other side of fear.
AND you cannot judge another person about their next brave thing
As you have no idea about their inner life, their fears and their ability to manage them.
Engaged Activists survey social conditions, take it in and devise a plan which demonstrates, with precision, their next brave move.
Dreamers stand to say, I am undocumented.
Union people organize and strike.
Russian queers publicly kiss in Red Square.
Voters flood the Austin State House to support Wendy Davis’ filibuster.
A Tibetan monk self-immolates.
People march and sit and fast and wait.
They have had enough.
They have reached the limit.
But do not think that such photograph-able grand actions are any different from
- the sixth grader standing in the hallway, refusing to bully.
- the family member at Thanksgiving dinner stating clearly, “that was not funny.”
- the person at work who says, my relative is gay and I love them
- the stranger speaking up when witnessing harassment.
- These are the ones who shout, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot
- These are the ones who tell us Black Lives Matter
- The next brave move is the move that presents itself in the context of your life.
If you ever have seen an injustice and had to take a deep breath, leap into the fray, take a chance that no one will agree AND did it anyway; YOU UNDERSTAND.
That is brave, that is activism and that is the best we can do.
Urgency, I am feeling urgency.
New activists are sitting in classrooms, in circles in community rooms,
on pavement at the intersection of Equality & Liberation.
I need to tell them something.
There are people who just need to know that the time is now. They need to know that the stirring of activism is real and how to foster it. There are students who are so overwhelmed with the enormity of possibilities, have no idea where to start. They need some direction on how change occurs.
There are people of all ages who see what is going on but are stalled.
They sit in uncertainty.
They wonder about the next step, their step, the sure step.
Or they see only those already down the track and think, “Why start now?” “I could never do that.”
And all they need to know is to take THEIR next brave step.
In fact, that step is the only one that matters.
There are people who have lost their fire.
They don’t know that rest and pause and a time-out is right, is a component to success.
The pilot light is still lit.
They just need to know how to boost the flame.
They need to find their way back into the political arena.
There are activists who have forgotten to change with the times and now the tools of 2012 appear out of reach. I meet people all the time who think activism ended in the 70’s and they are just looking in the wrong direction.
Not only is it a loss for them but a terrible loss for current day movements.
I need to find these people.
I have something to say.
Take it one step at a time ~ your next step.
You will not just make the next step but you will find you are fine.
You are better than fine.
I am so proud to be here with you today.
I am in love with equality and you are too.
It is just that simple.