The 2017 Speech Trek Contest year has begun for the Sacramento Branch. Committee members Shari Beck, Ann Arneill, Liz Jordan and new member Ellynrose Sheehan recently met to begin planning the next round of informational workshops that the committee provides to interested students at all nine of the Elk Grove Unified School District regular secondary schools.
This year’s topic for students to ponder, analyze, research and speak on is: Is it time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment? If so, how can this be accomplished? How can organizations such as AAUW help in getting this amendment ratified once and for all?
Alice Paul first introduced the proposed Amendment to the U. S. Constitution to Congress in 1923. In 1972, Congress finally passed the ERA. At the time she introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress, Paul said, “…We shall not be safe until the principle of equal rights is written into the framework of our government.”
The next step was ratification by at least 38 State legislatures. By 1977 35 of the necessary 38 states had ratified the amendment when advocates appealed to Congress for an indefinite extension of the time limit for ratification, but they only got an extension until June 30, 1982. When the political tide of the time changed, the ratification process stalled and time ran out. Since then, the ERA has been reintroduced at every Congressional session.
Last year at the Academy Awards, actress Patricia Arquette, brought new attention to the gender pay gap, and has since started a campaign to assure passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Filmmaker Kamala Lopez has created a new documentary entitled, “Equal Means Equal,” in which she examines the effects of gender inequality in the United States.
The speech contest is scheduled for the third Saturday in February. The contest runs from 9 a.m. to noon, with refreshments and an opportunity to hear what nine young people have to say about critical issues of equity. This will be the February Branch meeting, and the public is invited as well.
The annual speech contest requires a budget of about $1,300. Students are offered a workshop with helpful handouts, coaching assistance, and content and delivery tips. Because our branch membership was so generous with their donations this past year, the committee increased the prize money for 2017 winners to $500 for first place and $250 for second place. Third place still wins $100, and honorable mention gets $50.
Because our donors are so important to this project, we want to thank them for their donations made along with their membership dues:
Alice G. Bauer
Vicki L. Nicholson