Back in 2017, Resistbot was created to help us all send our thoughts to elected officials, turning text messages into letters and faxes, and eliminating a whole lot of barriers to communication (time, effort) between citizens and politicians.
Now the platform has launched its first-ever brand partnership, creating Equalitybot with Kind Snacks to raise awareness and get people to put pressure on state officials to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
On the face of it, the ERA seems pretty simple. “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Short, sweet, and common sense in 2020.
First proposed in 1972, the ERA had an original ratification deadline of 1979 (later extended to 1982), but it only ever managed to get the support of 35 of the 38 states needed to ratify it as an amendment to the Constitution.
The dust on the ERA was kicked up again in January when Virginia joined Illinois and Nevada, which recently ratified it, to hit that 38-state threshold.
One problem: The 1982 deadline was never officially extended.
Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg said she’d like to see the whole thing get rebooted. She argued that if three states could come in so late with their support then the five states that have since withdrawn their support would need to be considered as well. Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Idaho all originally voted to ratify the ERA but actually rescinded their ratification before the 1982 deadline, which would make the current count to 33 states.
Now, to mark the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, Equalitybot is trying to give Americans a simple way to support the ERA. Texting “Pass the ERA” to 50409 will lead you to sign Kind’s petition, which will be electronically sent to state officials. They’re also taking EqualityBot on a college tour, with kiosks on campuses across the country, including Georgia, Arizona, and Florida, three states that have yet to ratify the ERA. Kind has also made a limited-edition Kind Equality bar, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Alice Paul Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing gender equality.
Kind Snacks’ chief of staff and SVP of corporate development Elle Lanning says the brand was looking for ways to make a meaningful impact on the issue. “When we looked at the stalled progress of the ERA, we started trying to figure out how we could bring attention and some potential action to helping get that across the line with organizations that have been committed to that exclusively.”
One of its first calls was Resistbot. “We’ve partnered with advocacy groups like Fight for the Future and March for Our Lives, but I haven’t been approached by brands before,” says Resistbot executive director Jason Putorti. “I don’t see many brands doing public policy advocacy transparently in partnership with their consumers. Now more than ever, brands have to embody the values of their fans. I’d love to work with anyone interested in improving civic engagement, brands included. The most important job in a democracy is that of the citizen, and the more that are sharing that message, the better it will be for all of us.”