Helene Swanson - Katrina's Dream is ranked #10 of 69

Helene Swanson is a tenacious human rights advocate walking across the USA for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

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My political story

I am one of Katrina’s Dream four co-founders. I am engaged as a spiritual duty in a pilgrimage across the United States promoting the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I started my journey on International Women's Day Bridgewalk at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA on March 8, 2014. I sleep roadside, at the occasional Good Samaritan’s home, and in churches along my route. I hav made my way across Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, eleven of the 15 non-ratifying states. I expect to arrive in Washington, D.C. on August 26th, 2015, where many others will walk the last miles of the pilgrimage with me to our nations capitol. Many human rights activist will speak at this event. And we meet with this nation’s leaders to demand the passage of the federal Equal Rights Amendment.

Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship

I co-founded Katrina's Dream, an organization dedicated to the full inclusion of women in the church and in society. Katrina’s Dream was founded in the memory of my late mother-in-law, Rev. Katrina Swanson. Since founding Katrina’s Dream I've been instrumental in the passage of Resolution D042 of the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which calls for the renewed support of the passage of the ERA. And my Letter of Endorsement was cited by Representative Tammy Baldwin's 2011 resolution, H. J. Res. 47: Removing the Deadline for the ERA (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hjres47), which resurrected the ERA under the "Three State Strategy". I let go of my home and business to walk across the USA for the ERA. I started walking with less than $200 to my name. While walking I visit with US Senators and Representatives, and hold rallys along the way. The ERA Rally I held in Carson City, NV has lead to a resolution being introduced in the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session. I will go the distance. I am hoping to meet other activist who can help get the word out on me ERA March to the Capitol this coming August 26 where many other women’s rights leaders will be speaking and lobbying our Congress as to the importance of passing the Equal Rights Amendment.

What first inspired me to get involved

My late mother-in-law, the Rev. Katrina Swanson, who was one of the “Philadelphia Eleven”, inspired me to become a social justice activist. Having always worked on social just issues Katrina asked if I would take my legal skills and apply them to working on the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Katrina along with 10 other women were the first women to be "irregularly" ordained in the Episcopal Church USA back in 1974. Katrina's faith in my abilities has carried me through some really tough moments and despite the hardships such as the loss of my husband in May 2012 I have only become more committed to seeing that all are treated equal. I have come to see how sexism and racism are intricately interwined on my pilgrimage from the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson to the women of mobile who live in the only shelter on the Gulf Coast. I want to see all my brothers and sisters around the world be treated with the respect and dignity.

The blog post I am most proud of

I am committed to walking across the USA for the Equal Rights Amendment. While walking I have held a number of prayer vigils and rally along the way. I have stayed at shelters where women are told that they are born to serve men and make babies. This past March 2015, I was fortunate to make a side trip to attend the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women and meet with many other women’s right activist from around the world. My pilgrimage has helped me see the faces behind the numbers of those who are oppressed.

More about my political involvement

I just joined Democracy For America. I volunteer for a number of organizations. One of the many organizations I am a member of is Organizing for America, California People of Faith against the Death Penalty, and the National Organization for Women. I stay active by: 1) sharing their emails with other groups that I work with; and 2) giving feedback on projects; and 3) posting on my Katrina's Dream Facebook page, and 4) writing blogs or having others write pieces for my blogs.

How I've gotten others involved

I have gotten many folks involved with my social justice activism by holding rallys, speaking before groups or churchs, eblasting important updates, and posting to my personal and many other organzations Facebook pages.

Why I think participation in the netroots is important

I think my participation in Netroots is important because it will help me to foster relationships with other activist and broaden my skills. I have much to learn about how to better organize especially since I am holding an ERA March to the Capitol this coming August 26, 2015 and want as many activist there as possible.

My Twitter manifesto on online activism

Online activism works by building a community of like-minded folks who are committed to a common cause and giving them a place to organize.

If I could design a bumper sticker it would say:

Pass the ERA Empower Women and Gays

My wild idea for a cool new action

The petition I would start would be one demanding that Congress pass the resolution calling for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

I am a

Grassroots Activist

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