Equal Rights Advocates’ 2020 Annual Report
Explore the Report
- Letter from Executive Director Noreen Farrell
- The Impact of Your Dollar
- Our Donors & Supporters
- Change Led by Workers & Students
- The Future of Feminism: Our Vision
- 10 Systemic Injustices & How We’re Fighting Them
- Shifting the Narrative
- Financial Report
Letter from the Executive Director
“Our nation faced a long-overdue reckoning with centuries of racist oppression and attacks against our democracy. The gutting impacts of systemic inequity—on our economy, public health, schools, and other social infrastructures—did not only expose the unfinished business of our movement. It energized you, me, and millions across the country to reimagine these systems and demand bold change.”
The Impact of Your Dollar
2020: Building a Country Where We All Can Thrive
Essential workers have always been essential. Since our inception, ERA has fought for the safety, dignity, and equity of low-paid women workers now called “essential.” We champion best practices with high road employers and hold companies accountable for violating workers’ civil rights. We introduce groundbreaking legislation to ensure everyone is protected against discrimination. And we partner with Black and Latinx women to secure economic security for their families through policy change and big impact litigation.
An unprecedented year called for an unprecedented response. Your support meant we could help even more essential workers in 2020, including:
- Expanding our Free Legal Advice & Counseling Helpline and hiring an attorney dedicated entirely to that program
- Suing companies that deny essential workers their rights by partnering with Black women and Latinx women in essential fields—grocery work, airport security, and facility janitorial—in class action lawsuits that resulted in justice and significant monetary relief for the workers, as well as major policy changes at their companies
- Hosting our first ever national Tele-Town Hall series, listening to Black and Latinx women in 5 cities across the country on what issues matter most to them and their families
- Building community power with our Equal Pay Today initiative partner organizations nationwide to advocate for policy solutions to the wealth gap for women of color, occupational segregation, an unlivable minimum wage, and more
- Sponsoring and co-organizing worker-led campaigns to demand paid sick leave and family leave and hazard pay for essential workers, safety and health standards for domestic workers, and an end to wage theft in the garment industry
Our community makes change possible. We couldn’t do this work without the generous contributions of our beloved supporters. ERA thanks the following individuals, foundations, law firms, and businesses for fueling our mission last year.
The following are lists of supporters who gave $250 or more between April 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020. Please contact us about any errors or omissions.
Change Led by Students & Workers
The time for transformative work is now. And to truly transform the broken systems that devastated workers and families across the country in 2020, we followed the lead of those harmed most by these injustices. That’s why ERA partners with everyday heroes who are ready to lead reform in their workplaces, schools, and communities.
In 2020, we fought side-by-side with low-paid immigrant domestic workers, Black moms who are essential workers, and LGBTQ+ student survivors of sexual violence in class-action lawsuits, fast-response legal support, and community-powered legislative campaigns. Together, we worked to reshape broken systems into ones that actually help workers and families like they’re supposed to.
Worker-led change: Candice’s story
Airport security worker Candice Branner knew she had to stand up to unfair treatment on the job—for herself, her child, and the other pregnant workers in her company who were being subjected to the discrimination she endured. Through a class-action lawsuit, we partnered with Candice to hold her workplace accountable and create new policies to protect countless workers in her industry. Thanks to her, countless pregnant workers in her industry will not have to endure mistreatment for years to come.
Survivor-led change: Rebecca’s story
We know the power of working with a legal advocate who understands you because they’ve been there, too. Rebecca Berry is a lawyer, activist, and volunteer attorney with ERA’s ENOUGH program, the nation’s only pro bono network dedicated entirely to providing free legal help to student survivors of sexual violence. As survivor of sexual assault herself, Rebecca empowers her clients to reclaim their stories, discover their innate strength, and connect with the ENOUGH community of survivors for strength and support.
Student-led change: Virginia’s story
Want to know what the future of gender justice looks like? Ask our client Virginia, who bravely challenged her school administration to protect future students from harm. After surviving sexual assault in high school, Virginia’s school grossly mishandled her case, causing additional harm. Working with our Legal Team to seek healing and justice, Virginia not only reclaimed her story, but her lawsuit with ERA forced Sacramento School District to rewrite its policies on sexual assault and harassment with our guidance, facilitating safer and more equitable education for the district’s 50,000 students.
- Fund this community-powered model of justice for workers, students, and survivors with a donation today.
The Future of Feminism: Our Vision
The future of our movement is forged one client at a time. The students, workers, and activists who do the hard work of facing down injustice with us are fighting to make the world better for those who will follow them. They inspire us to dream big about the future that our work makes possible.
So what does the future of gender justice look like?
- It looks like community power: everyday people have access to the tools, resources, and support they need for themselves and their families to thrive.
- It looks like collective leadership: ALL of us stand in solidarity to protect those oppressed by systemic injustice and build mutually beneficial support systems.
- It looks like recognition of intersecting struggles: there is no gender justice without racial justice.
- It looks like radical inclusion: the diverse needs and priorities of all our communities are centered from the ground up.
- It looks like centering folks who have been pushed to the margins: women of color, immigrants, queer, trans, and nonbinary people, people with disabilities, and others targeted by oppression are the leaders this movement needs most.
We fight today for a future where this vision of gender justice is a reality. Because the next generation needs us to show up for them now.
Take action to support our vision for the future! Click here to email, call, or tweet at your Congressional representatives about bills we’re supporting in 2021.
Our multi-pronged approach means we can challenge harmful systems and structures on multiple levels. See our strategy.
1. Problem: Essential workers are denied paid sick days, contributing to highly disproportionate rates of pandemic infection and death in Black and Latinx communities.
- 2020 Solution: We organized support for the federal Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1784) to provide paid, job-protected sick days to the one in four U.S. workers who currently don’t have access.
2. Problem: Our country depends on essential workers to keep society and the economy running, yet they are denied basic rights like time off to care for sick family members.
- 2020 Solution: In California, we co-led a successful campaign (SB 1383) to expand Paid Family Leave to the 40% of workers—mostly low-paid—who were previously denied it, allowing them time off to care for a sick family member or new child.
3. Problem: During the pandemic, women were pushed out of work at much higher rates than men, in large part due to lack of affordable, reliable child care.
- 2020 Solution: In California, we successfully advocated for an increased budget allocation to expand child care access for essential and low-paid workers and provide financial resources to child care programs that remained open during the pandemic.
Shifting the Narrative
By shining a light on our mission and publicly sharing our clients’ stories, ERA is shifting dominant narratives around workers’ rights and abuses, sexual violence in education, and the persistence of systemic sexism and racism in our institutions. The more eyes we can open to these issues, the more our culture can change.
Here are our favorite thought leadership moments from ERA team members in 2020:
Read Reimagining Queer Justice (by Kel O’Hara)
More thought leadership:
- Indian Country Today: Native Women’s Equal Pay Day raises awareness
- Forbes: Black Women Share Approaches to Tackling the Wage Gap (Shannon Williams)
- CNN: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day (Shannon Williams)
- Caring for the Caregivers: Senate Bill 1257 (Jess Eagle)
Fiscal Year 2019-2020
(April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
Program Expenses: $1,790,495.47
General & Management: $435,115.70
Individual Contributions: $273,079.08
Foundations & Public Charities: $1,247,935.73
Corporate Contributions: $121,148.77
Legal Awards & Revenue: $679,912.94
Events (Gross): $686,030.00
Starting Net Assets: $2,551,496.00
Ending Net Assets: $2,797,079.00
What’s next? Contact lawmakers to support our groundbreaking bills for gender and economic justice in 2021.
Our action campaigns make it easy to contact lawmakers with a few clicks!