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This story first appeared in the Henry Herald on September 12, 2023. Written by .

Lisa Sales shakes hands with Anthony Ford who is holding an ERA YES flyer.Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford (right) with Virginia NOW President Lisa Sales during the Georgia NOW annual State Conference in August.

STOCKBRIDGE — A Henry County mayor is furthering his stance on topics surrounding equal rights and gender equality.

Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford recently attended the Georgia NOW annual state conference hosted by President Triana Arnold-James with other Henry County officials where he joined forces with advocates for the newly organized Mayors for the Equal Rights Act.

Ford felt encouraged to sign the Sign4ERA petition after a discussion with Lisa Sales, the Virginia State NOW president, who was a guest speaker during the August conference which featured state Rep. Regina Lewis Ward, State Sen. Michael Rhett with former senator Zahra Karinshak and Henry County Commissioner Vivian Thomas.

When you raise up women and families, you lift a nation too, Sales said.

“Joining esteemed Georgians for this important conference was an honor, and I am delighted that Mayor Ford and state legislators are in the fight for equality with us,” she said in a press release. “It is vital to have local support in every state and jurisdiction for the Equal Rights Amendment. Mayors like Ford know that systemic barriers for women and LGBTQ+ people persist and realize the importance of having equal rights enshrined in our constitution and how equally an opportunity can help residents of their communities.”

The Sign4ERA initiative was launched by former New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and her students at the Hunter College in New York to petition Congress to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment — ratified by 38 states in the nation. Although ratified, Congress has yet to formerly recognize the Amendment due to an arbitrary deadline, Sales said.

“The joint resolution would remove the time limit, clearing the way for the amendments enshrinement to the Constitution,” she said.

The Sign4ERA initiative has also garnered support from other political leaders which include Senate Majority Leader Shuch Schumer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia.

“I am an extremely positive supporter of Women Rights as well as Equal Rights for all people,” Ford said. “No matter of their religion, sexual orientation, race or complexion of their skin.”