When fasters fast, Angels bend down from the clouds to get a better look. There is something very different about the activism of fasting, to quiet the body, listen to the soul and make a personal sacrifice is not done with a bullhorn, standing on a soapbox, chained to a fence. It is a prayerful thing, a holy thing, a wholesome thing that lasts a lifetime.
A long time ago, my fast was blessed with the stewardship of Dick Gregory who told me that when fasters are fasting, he reaches out immediately to offer counsel. Since that time, I have come to understand, as fasters know one another in a very special way. As Mr. Gregory taught me, only the honest, descent side can fast.
Welcome to this tribe, Ms. Allred. You have crossed the line today that very few people have traversed. And now you hold a holy call to protect, advise and honor fasters.
The Equal Rights Amendment has a long tradition of fasting beginning with its author, Alice Paul, who learned sitting with fellow student, Mohandas Gandhi, in the lectures of Emmeline Pankhurst. Gandhi took active resistance and fasting to India and Alice brought it to the USA. Imagine the chain of succession now stretches all the way to West Hollywood, California. And one of the links on this chain, we celebrate today. Thank you, Ms. Allred, on behalf of all women, all Americans who are making a bid for equality, Thank you.
It is my great honor to present to you letters from Lulu Flores, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and Terry O’Neill, President of National Organization for Women, commending your fast for the ERA. Along with their commendation is their commitment for the introduction of the ERA into the 112th Congress, lobby for hearings and vote on the floor and sending to the states for ratification.
Short samples from their letters:
From NOW President, Terry O’Neill
The failure to include women in the US Constitution has severe consequences:
- Women are only 17% of Congress
- 6 women governors
- Lifetime of wage discrimination
- 88% of US counties offer no abortion services
- Lesbian couples can only marry in 5 states and DC
I have heard from NOW leaders around the country who are moved by your fast and we thank you for taking this stand and for all you do for women’s equality.
In addition to our gratitude and applause, we pledge our continued support in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. We dedicate ourselves to:
- Have the Equal Rights Amendment introduced into the 112th Congress early in 2011.
- Find and support a champion of the Equal Rights Amendment in the Senate 2011.
- Call for bi-partisan support of this legislative effort, recalling that the ERA was originally introduced and supported by members of both parties;
- Lobby for hearings to advance the ERA to the floor and support the vote;
- Campaign state by state to see that the US Constitution explicitly includes both men and women.
We are very moved by Ms. Allred’s fast and welcome this opportunity to honor her, to honor all women who are hungry for justice and to celebrate equality.
The Third Wave is here today to light their own torch, share their light, and alert young Americans that the US Constitution has a gaping hole. We will hear from Kamala Lopez and Melanie Klein about their wondrous plans to spread the news and offer solutions.
Let it be heard that August 26, 2010 is a great day for American women. NOW & NWPC and the Young Women’s ERA Campaign have come together with Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and the City of West Hollywood to thank Gloria Allred for her fast, to raise a glass in breaking the fast and to dedicate themselves to the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.