The Board of Aldermen of the City of New Bern is the most recent municipality to pass a resolution urging the General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The City of New Bern’s resolution amplifies the voices of even more North Carolina citizens who want the state legislature to take steps toward ensuring the full equality of women and men in the United States Constitution.
After the New Bern Board of Aldermen unanimously passed the resolution, Alderman Jameesha Harris stated, ” I feel it is important that we acknowledge the constitutional rights of women and how it is important that local officials take a lead to make sure state leaders know the desires of constituents, and how great it was that history was made with three women serving on the Board of Aldermen. It was important to me to spearhead this push to have the board vote to adopt the resolution, and it set a tone for the city of New Bern on how things should be done. I am honored to serve with individuals who recognize the importance of the ratification of the ERA.”
“We are so pleased to have received the unanimous support of the Board of Aldermen for the ERA,” said Pat Chylko, President of the Democratic Women of Craven County. “When newly elected Alderman Harris was approached, she responded with enthusiasm.”
New Bern Alderman Sabrina Bengel remarked, “I am honored to be part of this historic moment when three women took their seats as Aldermen for the City of New Bern for the first time in the over 300 year history of our City, and when the New Bern Board of Aldermen unanimously voted for approval of the resolution in support of the ERA.”
“We were pleased and honored to voice our endorsement of this amendment,” said Dana Outlaw, the Mayor of the City of New Bern. “It’s an opportunity to acknowledge the multitude of women who make a great impact in our communities and throughout our country, and to ensure they are afforded equal chances, privileges and treatment. Many thanks to the Democratic Women of Craven County for all the work you do.”
In 1972 a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed both houses of the U.S. Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. By a 1982 deadline, only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA. North Carolina was one of the states that failed to ratify the ERA. However, in March 2017, the state of Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the amendment.
North Carolina enjoys enormous support for equal rights for women and men under the Constitution and is becoming a leader in the new movement to ratify the ERA. Bills supporting state ratification were introduced in both the House and Senate in the 2015 and 2017 General Assembly sessions, though they were sent to committees where the chairs refused to hold hearings or take further action. Activists remain undeterred, however, and are continuing to gather evidence of statewide support for the ERA to share with our expanding base of allies within the General Assembly.
For the full list of counties and municipalities that have passed ERA ratification resolutions, please visit www.era-nc.org/counties-and-municipalities.