Cause: Passage of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which backers say would ensure equal rights for women are guaranteed. Congress passed the law in 1972, but efforts to get states to ratify had stalled until being revived recently in response to the anti-sexual-assault #MeToo movement. Last month, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the amendment, meaning it’s only one state away from being ratified nationally, though there’s uncertainty about whether it would go into effect if one more state approves it, or if the expired deadline for state passage would prevent that.
Celeb: “Charmed” actress Alyssa Milano, who has been one of the more vocal celebrities speaking against sexual assault and discrimination.
Scene: Earlier this week, Milano joined Rep. Carolyn Maloney at Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue to rally for the measure, and on Wednesday, they brought the show to Capitol Hill. The New York Democrat hosted a “shadow hearing” on the matter since her request to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) for a formal one must have gotten lost in the mail. The setup was just like the real thing — a handful of lawmakers on a dais, with witnesses before them and activists packing the seats.
Sound bite: Milano got emotional during her heartfelt testimony, tearing up as she addressed the lawmakers, noting that these days, women are “marching in the streets” and “holding the pens.”
“We are here today to put the ERA back on the agenda,” she said. “I am part of a movement that is not going anywhere — we are not going anywhere until the foundational document of our country insists, loudly and clearly, to us and to the world that women shall have equal rights.”