Today, we celebrate Democracy and HERstory

January 20. 2021
Noreen Farrell, Executive Director & Delia Coleman, Deputy Director

A statement from Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, & Delia Coleman, Deputy Director

Together, our office watched the Inauguration of our 46th President, Joseph R. Biden, and the swearing-in of his historic Vice President, Kamala Harris, with a mixture of relief, hope, and pride. This was a reaction in stark contrast to the news emerging from the U.S. Capitol complex two weeks ago of far-right militant groups storming Congress to stop the certification of a fair and open election and possibly do much worse to their political enemies. Though it was without the pomp and circumstance of previous years, our experience of the Inauguration was tinged with the awareness that our body politic came close to being irrevocably broken. For many communities, the past four years have been equally traumatic. For nearly half a million American households affected by losses from the Coronavirus, it has been deadly.

Despite, or perhaps because of this, hope soared today, on this day of long overdue firsts. We saw the White House’s glass ceiling shattered by a Black, South Asian, and fiercely qualified Senator from Equal Rights Advocates’ home state of California. We were lifted by the gift of poetry when the nation’s first youth poet laureate became today the nation’s youngest inaugural poet in memory, 22-year old Amanda Gorman.  

Holding the hope of today close, Equal Rights Advocates will share tomorrow our 100 Days vision to support working women and their families, particularly Black, Latina, and undocumented women who do so much essential work. We will also share our priorities for action in the next 100 days to strengthen the civil rights protections of marginalized students – students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, students with trans and gender expansive identities, and students from religious minorities – students denied an equal right to education over the past four years by those charged with defending them. The needs of these communities are many. And injustices against them demand redress requiring many hands. But we believe we have the right people in place to start immediately. We look forward to leaders who will champion the rights and celebrate the power and value of workers, students, and families across the nation. 

Like our new President and Vice President, Equal Rights Advocates celebrates that today ’is democracy's day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.’ 

Equally as fervent is our organizational resolve to act on a “dream of justice for all [that] will be deferred no longer.” Incremental victories that nibble at the edge of real social change are no longer enough for the communities to whom we listen. We want bold change where the low-paid women and people on the frontlines of our economy can have what they need to care for themselves and others; we want real racial justice that will remove the centuries-built racist barriers for BIPOC communities and Black communities in particular, and we will embrace an inclusive vision of gender justice that makes room for our LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive friends.  

Congratulations to our new President and Vice President and the team they have assembled to build back better. We look forward to helping him do just that.

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