A publicity photo for the 2004 movie “Iron Jawed Angels.”
State Sen. Scott Surovell announced this week that actress Alyssa Milano will be attending a screening of the movie “Iron Jawed Angels” on Aug. 26 at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gum Springs.
The screening is being put on by Surovell and Del. Kathy Tran as part of a statewide effort among supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment to show the 2004 film. Starring Hilary Swank, the movie tells the story of Alice Paul — one of the original authors of the ERA — and other suffragists who fought for women to get the right to vote.
The screening is already sold out, but anyone interested can still sign up to be on the waiting list.
Surovell has sponsored a resolution during his time in both the House of Delgates and in the Senate to ratify the ERA. While the bill has been approved in the Senate multiple times — including legislation sponsored by Surovell in 2016 — it has thus far failed to make it out of committee in the House.
With the passage of the amendment by Illinois in May, a new sense of urgency has emerged around the passage of the amendment. Only one more state needs to approve the ERA in order for it to be ratified by enough states.
In June, Surovell appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition to discuss the ERA’s chances in Virginia. The appearance caught the attention of Milano, who has been an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement and has joined the push to get the ERA ratified.
“Ms. Milano and Patricia Arquette contacted me after my interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition,” Surovell said. “They were active in the Illinois ERA ratification efforts and wanted to know how they could help with the efforts in Virginia.”
The U.S. Senate passed the ERA in 1972, sending the measure to the states for approval. A 1982 deadline for passage was eventually passed by Congress, making it legally murky that the ERA will be valid if Virginia or another state does ratify it in the coming year.
Despite the potential legal challenges, Surovell and supporters say Virginia can be part of history by ratifying the ERA.
“We are hoping that a big bipartisan grassroots push will help get ERA ratification over the finish line in Virginia this year,” Surovell said “[It will make] Virginia the 38th and final state which would then send the issue to the courts to determine if it has been validly ratified.”
This story has been corrected to say that the Virginia Senate has previously voted in favor of ratifying the ERA.