Last Thursday, I stood in front of the Supreme Court with our coalition partners to rally for the ERA and demand the Senate remove the artificial time limit on ERA ratification.  I reminded the audience that our Constitution has a mistake that has long demanded a correction.  We can’t say we have a real democracy or true equality until we enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment into the Constitution. 

Then on Saturday, I spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the Make Good Trouble Rally hosted by more than 70 national civil rights organizations in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act— and for a massive, moral revolution on the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic March on Washington.  There, I quoted the late John Lewis, who along with urging us to “make some noise and get in good trouble,” told us, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair.  Be hopeful, be optimistic.”  


These are words with special meaning for NOW.  We are motivated by our outrage and inspired by our optimism.  As I looked out over the crowds at the Supreme Court and the Lincoln Memorial, I thought back over NOW’s long history of grassroots organizing, public protest, and in-your-face activism and felt enormous pride.  

For as long as we’ve been on the scene, feminist activists like you have known that NOW is the organization that will always do the daily work of intersectional feminism.  Whether it’s supporting the ERA, which we have done since our second ever national conference in 1967, to fighting back against ongoing voter suppression efforts today, we know there can be no half measures in the way we organize and mobilize right now. 

We’re facing ongoing threats on multiple fronts. When it comes to our access to reproductive health care, we’re seeing extreme measures to ban abortion – just look at what they’re doing in Texas with S.B. 8. In the past several days, we have been confronted with one natural disaster after the other, from the earthquake in Haiti to Hurricane Ida. With each manifestation of this growing climate crisis, it becomes clearer that climate justice is a feminist issue, with women and marginalized communities facing the most devastating impacts. 

Our intersectional activism has never been more crucial.  We speak out and protest and march.  We write letters and lobby our elected officials.  We make calls and get involved in our local chapters. And we keep looking to build and expand coalitions, reach out to new audiences, make new allies and use new techniques, opportunities, and social media to achieve our goals. 

This is how we tackle these crises, by using our own voices and amplifying those who frequently go unheard.  Together, we’ll find the solutions to dismantle systemic racism, call out discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and eliminate once and for all the Jim Crow relics like the Senate filibuster.  

Yes, the challenges we face are significant, but our optimism will never fail–so long as we stay focused, organized and united in our activism as NOW members.