After the lobbying all spare energy went into organizing the ERA march on the
'capitol for Mothers Day. We got some neat T-shirts with a raised fist holding
roses, "Say it with Powers". We had an ERA run the day before, with several
hundred runners in special green ERA shirts and the main drag closed to traffic.
Flo Kennedy marched in Key West on Thursday; Friday there were parades in Miami
Orlando and Tampa; Saturday they all converged here. Sunday we had a 50-0car
motorcade to Tallahassee; all cars had big stickers and it was very impressive.
Monday morning we marched on the capitol (did you happen to read Mary Worth
during this time, Rachael Ward was depicted as one of us). Speeches too, but as
the song goes, I'm glad that's not 'all there was'. Then a bunch of us, as
planned, entered the house chambers, much to the amazement of a few legislators
(Ao^~2 n 3
on their way out to lunch, sat down in those plush chairs I had observed longingly
from the gallery. The 'speaker' called the question, someone else on the podium
read the-equal rights amendment; in..response to the question "is there any debate?"
we stood, raised our fists and shouted "no". Then the Question was called and we
all jumped up and voted in favor, no "nayes", and unanimous passage was announced.
We marched out into the rotunda CI heard the few non-plussed legislators at the
back say, "It's o.k., they're leaving now, so don't call the police" as we left,)
and on every level of the rotunda were our supporters and we all, 3 flights of us,
shouted slogans and sang. Such a sense of power (and relief, because we were
committed to the possibility of arrest during our action) and the halls rang with
our voices, unlike the scene outdoors where I#/y 1yf our shots mostly drifted
away with the wind. Then we converged on the governors chambers where we sat for
several hours trying to get an audience with him (unsuccessfully). So, to get
closure and not just hang out there, we made a statement to the present press,
signed our own ERA proclamation aid left. It was obvious they didn't know what to
do about us; as we marched out I saw a security guard run toward us with his hand
on his gun; he discreetly stopped when he saw how aotnu\bered he was and let us pasE
It was a glorious day, reminiscent of some of the things I've read about suffragists
Alice Paul and others who disrupted the Senate and Wilson's inauguration! And it's
time to DO something, because in 1975 4,000 (there were about 300 of us) marched
on T.llahassee and felt like they'd really DONE something, only to be ignored, as
the 2 senators who had been elected on pro-ERA tickets sold out at the last minute
and the -vote was lost by those 2 votes!!! .The press releases were predictably
inaccurate but at least we weren't ignored; mainly they said the governor doesn't
deserve such treatment because he's a supporter (unable to spend 4 minutes with us
to demonstrate that)!! So goes the legislative mentality!!