Anita Ross, Founder of Women for Equality

PHOTO by lucas fitzgerald

Women for Equality’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on May 12 at Unity of Sacramento, 9249 Folsom Boulevard. For more information, visit

Women for Equality was born out of the collective malaise that fell over a large swath of America once it was official that Donald J. Trump was going to be our next commander in chief. Activism for Anita Ross, Women for Equality’s founder, came naturally, despite the initial trepidation that often comes with resistance. On the eve of the electoral college vote last year, the group held its first rally, and has since become a mainstay on the activist scene in Sacramento in solidarity with organizations like WEAVE and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Ross is eager to continue the fight, and keep a shared humanity at the center point of every cause and conversation.

What is Women for Equality?

Women for Equality is an organization that I founded as a result of the election. I have developed this organization to stand up for love and equality. So when behavior like action items, legislation that’s trying to come through that does not align with love and equality, we rise up, through protests and rallies and phone banking, partnering up with organizations aligning with us for the betterment of humanity.

Do you remember how you felt November 8, 2016?

Oh, gosh. I felt like somebody punched me in my stomach and I couldn’t get up. I remember when the election results were coming in—and I knew already that once it came down to Michigan that Trump was gonna win. I went upstairs to my closet and closed the door—I have three little children—and started wailing, started crying. I just felt like hate won, and racism won and misogyny won. It was very challenging to get out of bed for the next couple of days, until someone put it in my head, “Hey, why don’t you do a rally?”

Is that how it all started?

Well, I didn’t know anything about how to do that. I can’t do that, I’m not doing that. Later that night, I thought, “Well, who am I not to do that?” Within 24 hours I had my speakers scheduled, my PR person developed promotional material and the rally was a great success.

To that end, how do you feel about the current state of the city?

You know, I love Sacramento. I’m originally from New York, but I love Sacramento because it’s so diverse, because it’s a great place to raise children. However, I think we have a lot more to go. The most recent police brutality case that occurred, where a young black man was jaywalking and got beaten brutally … with those situations we have our work cut out for us. That police officer is on paid leave, and that’s just not okay with me. He’s comfortable while someone else is healing from being beat up.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

I do consider myself a feminist in that I love being a woman. I appreciate everything about being a woman. I feel women are extremely powerful and we haven’t even begun to tap into our true power in regard to our leadership roles in our country. I would say, though, that I don’t do labels. I am a woman, I am powerful and I am going to bring love into this world.

Fill in the blank. Women are “__.”


What do you think is the greatest hurdle women have to overcome?

The idea by many—not just men, women as well—that we are meant to be in a certain role, and that role only. The biggest hurdle is stepping outside that box and being who we truly want to be, even if that means top leadership roles, even if that means president. Sometimes I don’t even know if we see that as a goal for ourselves.

What are some of the battles ahead for Women for Equality?

Just not to get discouraged. I think anytime you’re faced with hate or inequality or injustice or inhumanity winning in our country, it can be very discouraging. Women tend to be nurturers, and … we want to make things better. We’ve got to stay inspired. … We’re always going to have inspiration. This is long haul, not a sprint. We’ve got to stay inspired and empowered and not let these negative messages win.

What inspires you?

Love. Building a world that works for everyone. Creating a world where my children can grow up appreciated and celebrated for who they are. It’s what keeps me going, keeps me driven.

Who inspires you?

Gosh, Martin Luther King Jr. I remember going to Atlanta for the first time with my husband and he took me to the Martin Luther King Jr. museum near Morehouse College and walking past a statue of him and just crying. My husband asked, “Why are you crying?” And I said, “I have to do more, to contribute more to this world.”