Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) has long shared the vision of our partners regarding American Constitutional and universal human rights that the solution to equality begins with unity. While we are divisions of genders, races, religions, identity groups, we are human beings first, and in this nation, we are all Americans, with both the rights and responsibilities of being Americans.
In the United States of America, we achieve progress in respect, dignity, and rights through our commitment in being responsible for united action together. Our starting point for unity on equal rights always must be respect and dignity towards one another, especially with our nation’s diversity. The long struggle for women’s Constitutional Equality in America must be leading sisters and brothers working together under the banner of “respect, dignity, equality.”
The priority of shared respect and dignity is often forgotten by some passionate individuals, who believe equality on every level – including equality to disrespect one another – is somehow “progress.” But “respect” is a fundamental part of every modern human rights document, including the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After one of the great horrors of world history, including the mass-murder of millions of women, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1948, not only speaks about respect, but also about the right of DIGNITY. We cannot simply sweep respect and dignity out of the way, as inconvenient to our common cause to achieve equality, and especially not in our joint resolution to achieve Constitutional Equality for women, under the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.).
No matter who we are, as fellow human beings, we have an innate need for respect and dignity. Shared respect and dignity is where our commitment begins to Equality Without Exception. As diverse individuals, we don’t have to agree with one another or like one another, but we do have to respect the rights and dignity of one another as human beings, and in America, as fellow Americans. Respect and dignity are both the starting and the finishing points of our campaigns for equality.
So for women’s Constitutional equality in America, if we are not working for respect and dignity for our fellow American women, we are not working for their equality. The idea of being “equal” in being degraded and disrepected is simply gilding inequality. For too long in America, women have been degraded, disrespected, and abused as sex objects. A campaign to degrade and disrepect women is not a campaign for women’s equality.
With the long history of women’s sexual victimization in America, building a giant nude woman’s statue, as proposed by Catharsis on the Mall for its planned women’s rights demonstration in Washington D.C. in November, does not promote any type of healing, but seeks to perpetuate the sexist view that women don’t deserve the same respect and dignity as men, as part of their equal rights. What campaign for equal rights in America would not defend respect and dignity as fundamental parts of such equality?
R.E.A.L. understands the diversity and modern views of art as tools for statements in social justice. But more vital to the root of the women’s equality movement, R.E.A.L. understands the long history of women’s victimization by those using sexualization of their causes, their needs, and their concerns – as a way to silence the essential need for shared respect and dignity that every movement for equal rights must have.
Equal means more than words about “Equality” for all, without the genuine commitment to such truths.
Equal means Respect. Equal means Dignity. Equality depends on shared Respect and Dignity for all as fellow human beings and Americans – of any gender – because without acknowledging the need for shared respect and dignity – there is no genuine commitment to equal rights.
American women (or any women) should not have to choose between respect and dignity versus equality.
Women’s Rights must begin with Respect, Dignity, and Equality together – without question, without exception.