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During Black History Month, it’s important not just to celebrate the incredible past contributions to the fight for racial justice – we must uplift those women making history now.

So to kick off a month of celebrating black women here on our blog and on Instagram, we’re recognizing a few that are organizing, writing, and speaking to achieve racial and gender justice for women across the country. Through their work centered on the experiences and needs of Black women, all women are uplifted. 

  1.  Kimberlé Crenshaw

There is no better place to start a list of Black women making history than with Kimberlé Crenshaw. An advocate and scholar, Crenshaw developed the theory of intersectionality – that for women of color, gender and race discrimination are inherently linked and must both be addressed to achieve true equity. Watch Crenshaw discuss “the urgency of intersectionality.”

  1.    Wagatwe Wanjuki

Wanjuki is a writer, activist and speaker on gender-based violence. A survivor of campus sexual assault, she uses her written and social media platforms to call out the ways violence in education impacts young women of color. Check out her campaign #JustSaySorry and her letter to the university administrators who failed to support her.

  1.    Venkayla Haynes

Still in college, Haynes is organizing and leading the national conversation on campus sexual assault and its impact on young Black women. She is a regional adviser for It’s On Us, serves on the advisory council for the Biden Foundation, and works for the survivor-led organization Know Your IX. Read her open letter to Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

  1.    Chardonnay Madkins

Madkins works as the Program and Operators Director for End Rape on Campus, where she seeks to end sexual violence in education through survivor support and education, and policy advocacy. She has been vocal about the unique experiences of Black women survivors and barriers they face when reporting sexual assault - read her thoughts in the Los Angeles Times.

  1.    Charlene Carruthers

Charlene is the National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) where she mobilizes Black millennials to fight for racial, economic, and gender justice. Check out this interview with Carruthers to learn more about what drives her and leads her to activism.

  1.    Alicia Garza

Garza is a lifelong activist for racial and economic justice, and a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. She currently leads special projects for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, fighting for civil rights protections for domestic workers, who are overwhelmingly immigrant women. Read Alicia's reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

  1.    Monique Morris

Even if you haven’t heard of Dr. Morris, you’ve likely heard of her work - she coined the term “pushout” to describe the ways in which young Black women are excessively disciplined and effectively pushed out of school based on gender and racial stereotypes. Her work listening to the lived experiences of Black girls made her last year’s ERA Champion of Justice. Read more about “pushout” and then buy her book to learn more.

  1.    Nzingha Dugas

Dugas is the inaugural Director for African American Female Excellence for Oakland Unified School District. And she is already leading innovating and groundbreaking initiatives to address the barriers Black girls across the district face - schools across the country should take note. Learn more about these initiatives (of which ERA is a proud partner!) here.

  1.    Clarissa Brooks

This fall, a campaign swept Atlanta’s HBCU’s - #WeKnowWhatYouDid. Clarissa, a senior at Spelman College, brought national attention to the campaign and its mission to hold university administrators accountable for (not) responding to campus sexual assault. Read her article in Teen Vogue on the realities of sexual assault on HBCU campuses.

  1.   Ida B. Wells

Well, technically Wells already made history - but she continues to inspire those leading the way today. 100 years before Crenshaw coined intersectionality, Ida B. Wells’ early reportage showed how racism colluded with sexism to uniquely oppress Black women. She exposed the racial lies behind Jim Crow and fought for the inclusion of Black women in the suffragist movement. Hers is a model for inclusion and intersectional social justice we all should follow.

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Despite the public shock and outrage last September when President Trump rolled back Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), we still have no resolution.

For five months, the Trump administration and GOP congressional leadership have used 800,000 DREAMers’ lives as a political bargaining chip.

These are children and young adults who have lived almost their entire lives in the United States. This is their only home. DACA recipients have gone to school here, worked here, and served our country in the military. They are our friends, colleagues, bosses, sisters, brothers, neighbors. They pay income taxes and without them, our economy could lose an estimated $200-$400 billion dollars.

Later this week, Congress will once again face a vote to keep the government funded and avoid a second shutdown. And they might do it without extending DACA -- leaving DREAMers stuck in limbo in the country they call home. Or, even worse, in even more danger of being expelled.

I know DREAMers and they have taught me valuable lessons. In watching their lives be used for a political battle, I am reminded of the limitations of the American dream. The way our ideals often fall short because of systemic discrimination and hate. So many DREAMers came to the United States with the promise of a country that is free and full of opportunities to those who work hard. We cannot let the Trump administration’s racist and xenophobic immigration policies derail that dream for so many young people.

While the clock is ticking to extend DACA, now is the time to speak out. 87% of Americans want DREAMers to be able to remain in the United States. Join them – write to your representatives and let them know a clean DREAM act is how we live our highest values.

Americans love stories of the soldiers and heroes who fight for our freedoms. Who fight for the underdog. So I call on everyone to utilize the power you’ve been given and fight for the DREAMers.

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Achieving gender justice and equity is a key part in the broader fight for human rights and social justice. In 1976, Equal Rights Advocates led appellate briefing to clarify that Title IX prohibits sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination.

Today, Equal Rights Advocates is taking our decades-long fight against gender discrimination straight to the Department of Education.

Equal Rights Advocates, alongside SurvJustice and Victim Rights Law Center, has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the Trump Administration to stop the Department of Education’s new and extreme Title IX policy. The plaintiffs are represented by Democracy Forward, the National Center for Youth Law, the National Women’s Law Center, and Equal Rights Advocates.

The persistent #MeToo movement has exposed the prevalence and impact of sexual assault and harassment in schools and the workplace. And what is the Trump administration doing in response? Rather than take a strong stand against this pervasive form of gender discrimination, the Department of Education -- guided by baseless and discriminatory stereotypes about the credibility of women and girls who report sexual violence -- has chosen to enact an extreme and unconstitutional Title IX policy that will make it harder for survivors of campus sexual misconduct and violence to speak out and will set back the clock on fulfilling Title IX’s ultimate purpose, which is to eliminate sex discrimination as a barrier to education in this country.

Our lawsuit seeks to vacate the Department of Education’s September 2017 decision to roll back important guidance that helped schools address sexual violence on campus in a way that is consistent with Title IX. The suit also seeks to remove new, discriminatory policy the Trump Administration put in its place. Among other things, the new policy allows schools to grant accused harassers, but not survivors, the right to appeal school decisions about misconduct, taking away fundamental rights and protections for victims of sexual harassment and violence that have been recognized for over 20 years. We assert that the Trump Administration’s Title IX policy is unlawfully based on discriminatory stereotypes and non-fact based beliefs about the credibility of women and girls who report sexual violence, as indicated by Acting Assistant Secretary Candice Jackson.

Equal Rights Advocates Executive Director Noreen Farrell said of the suit:

"It is unacceptable that the education of women and girls across the country is compromised by sexual harassment and violence. Yet, under the leadership of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Department of Education abandoned efforts to protect and preserve the civil rights of sexual assault survivors in schools. ERA is proud to join this effort to hold the Department accountable for its discriminatory actions, which ignore fact and undermine the very laws it is charged with enforcing. Our participation in this suit is ERA's way of saying to women and girls across the country: we have your backs, even if the Department of Education doesn't.”

Survivors of campus sexual misconduct, especially those with intersectional identities like women of color and transgender and LGBT students, have benefited tremendously from the clarity provided by the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. They deserve more than the patchwork of policies cobbled together by an Administration proven to be singularly indifferent to violence against women. Despite progress over the past 20 years, Secretary DeVos' interim guidance threatens that progress made to hold institutions accountable and keep them on the right side of civil rights law.

Equal Rights Advocates is clear about one thing: Title IX is still the law of the land. Colleges are still legally required to ensure that sexual misconduct and violence does not interfere with equal educational opportunities. And our government still has an obligation to protect the civil rights of students who experience sex discrimination as a barrier to education.

Read the press release about the lawsuit here.

Read the full complaint.

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Equal Rights Advocates is hitting the Women's March again this year! Join our contingents in San Francisco or Oakland - we'll have t-shirts, buttons, signs, and a banner. Sign up to march with us here and receive updates. 

 

San Francisco

10am to 12pm - Pre-March Meet-up at ERA 
Our office is right at the edge of the rally site in Civic Center: 1170 Market Street, Suite 700. 
Get your ERA march t-shirt or button. We'll have drinks and snacks -- and sign making materials available so you can tell the world why you're marching.

12pm to 12:45pm - Join the ERA contingent at the Rally, or remain at ERA for march prep!
We'll have an ERA group listening in to the rally at the corner of Larkin and Grove. Look for us in ERA shirts and with the ERA banner.

If you prefer to stay inside during the rally, or can't make it to the Pre-March Meet-Up before 12 noon, don't worry! Some ERA staff will be staying at the ERA office to greet new guests and enjoy any the company of marchers who are still making posters.

12:45pm to 1pm - Line up w/ ERA at Larkin and Grove
Come meet up with your friendly ERA march contingent between 12:45 and 1pm. We'll hand out t-shirts and buttons to those who don't have them already and get ready to march!

2pm to 5 pm - March to Embarcadero!
The march covers 1.7 mi of flat terrain.

 

Oakland 

9:30am to 9:55am - Pre-March Meet-up w/ ERA
Join us at the Southeast Corner of 10th Street & Fallon Street, 49 10th St., Oakland, CA 94607. 
We'll have ERA March t-shirts, buttons, and pre-made posters for you!

10am to 11am - Rally at Lake Merritt Amphitheater 
Listen to amazing speakers and get fired up! 
Feel free to find us at the rally if you are not able to make it to the pre-march meet up (look for the ERA banner)!

11am – Lining up for March
All registered contingents have been asked to be at the contingent area at Lake Merritt Blvd and 13th St., facing towards 14th St., near the courthouse, no later than 11:05.

11:15am - ERA contingent starts MARCHING!
We will be starting to march about 15 minutes before the end of the rally to ensure that the march gets moving in a timely and organized fashion. This is approximately at 11:15AM as the rally is set to close at 11:30. 

ERA will be marching between Impact Hub Oakland and the Women’s Foundation of California.

11:15am to 1pm - March to Frank Ogawa Plaza (Oakland City Center)
The march covers 0.9 miles of mostly flat terrain. It is uphill for the first few blocks to Oak Street, and there is a slight uphill slope from Oak to Madison.

March map can be found at https://womensmarchoakland.org/about-the-march/

**Plans for non-Marchers in Oakland**
10:30am to 1pm - Call to Action Alley
There will be an ERA table at the Call to Action Alley at Frank Ogawa Plaza. 
Come find us and meet your friends there after the march! At our table, we'll share how community members can get involved in the fight for women's equality.

 

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During Black History Month, it’s important not just to celebrate the incredible past contributions to the fight for racial justice – we must uplift those women making history now.

So to kick off a month of celebrating black women here on our blog and on Instagram, we’re recognizing a few that are organizing, writing, and speaking to achieve racial and gender justice for women across the country. Through their work centered on the experiences and needs of Black women, all women are uplifted. 

  1.  Kimberlé Crenshaw

There is no better place to start a list of Black women making history than with Kimberlé Crenshaw. An advocate and scholar, Crenshaw developed the theory of intersectionality – that for women of color, gender and race discrimination are inherently linked and must both be addressed to achieve true equity. Watch Crenshaw discuss “the urgency of intersectionality.”

  1.    Wagatwe Wanjuki

Wanjuki is a writer, activist and speaker on gender-based violence. A survivor of campus sexual assault, she uses her written and social media platforms to call out the ways violence in education impacts young women of color. Check out her campaign #JustSaySorry and her letter to the university administrators who failed to support her.

  1.    Venkayla Haynes

Still in college, Haynes is organizing and leading the national conversation on campus sexual assault and its impact on young Black women. She is a regional adviser for It’s On Us, serves on the advisory council for the Biden Foundation, and works for the survivor-led organization Know Your IX. Read her open letter to Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

  1.    Chardonnay Madkins

Madkins works as the Program and Operators Director for End Rape on Campus, where she seeks to end sexual violence in education through survivor support and education, and policy advocacy. She has been vocal about the unique experiences of Black women survivors and barriers they face when reporting sexual assault - read her thoughts in the Los Angeles Times.

  1.    Charlene Carruthers

Charlene is the National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) where she mobilizes Black millennials to fight for racial, economic, and gender justice. Check out this interview with Carruthers to learn more about what drives her and leads her to activism.

  1.    Alicia Garza

Garza is a lifelong activist for racial and economic justice, and a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. She currently leads special projects for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, fighting for civil rights protections for domestic workers, who are overwhelmingly immigrant women. Read Alicia's reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

  1.    Monique Morris

Even if you haven’t heard of Dr. Morris, you’ve likely heard of her work - she coined the term “pushout” to describe the ways in which young Black women are excessively disciplined and effectively pushed out of school based on gender and racial stereotypes. Her work listening to the lived experiences of Black girls made her last year’s ERA Champion of Justice. Read more about “pushout” and then buy her book to learn more.

  1.    Nzingha Dugas

Dugas is the inaugural Director for African American Female Excellence for Oakland Unified School District. And she is already leading innovating and groundbreaking initiatives to address the barriers Black girls across the district face - schools across the country should take note. Learn more about these initiatives (of which ERA is a proud partner!) here.

  1.    Clarissa Brooks

This fall, a campaign swept Atlanta’s HBCU’s - #WeKnowWhatYouDid. Clarissa, a senior at Spelman College, brought national attention to the campaign and its mission to hold university administrators accountable for (not) responding to campus sexual assault. Read her article in Teen Vogue on the realities of sexual assault on HBCU campuses.

  1.   Ida B. Wells

Well, technically Wells already made history - but she continues to inspire those leading the way today. 100 years before Crenshaw coined intersectionality, Ida B. Wells’ early reportage showed how racism colluded with sexism to uniquely oppress Black women. She exposed the racial lies behind Jim Crow and fought for the inclusion of Black women in the suffragist movement. Hers is a model for inclusion and intersectional social justice we all should follow.

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10 Black Women Making History

February 8, 2018 | by

During Black History Month, it’s important not just to celebrate the incredible past contributions to the fight for racial justice – we must uplift those women making history now. So to kick off...
read more

Why I demand Congressional action for DREAMers

February 6, 2018 | by

Despite the public shock and outrage last September when President Trump rolled back Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), we still have no resolution. For five months, the Trump...
read more

Equal Rights Advocates Sues Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education: Campus Sexual Misconduct and Violence is Gender Discrimination

January 25, 2018 | by

Achieving gender justice and equity is a key part in the broader fight for human rights and social justice. In 1976, Equal Rights Advocates led appellate briefing to clarify that Title IX prohibits...
read more

Tomorrow – March with ERA at the 2018 Women’s March!

January 19, 2018 | by

Equal Rights Advocates is hitting the Women’s March again this year! Join our contingents in San Francisco or Oakland – we’ll have t-shirts, buttons, signs, and a banner. Sign up to march with us...
read more