Media and community relations supports Virginia’s Equal Rights Amendment ratification

Client Goal: Launch a public service campaign using media relations and built upon grassroots community organizing to raise awareness about equality issues leading up to a history-making election

VAratifyERA has supported ratification in Virginia since 2018, but after a failed ratification vote in the 2019 General Assembly, the organization renewed its effort leading up to the November 2019 election. Hodges was retained to layer media relations on top of its kickoff event at the Capitol and, subsequently, throughout the fall during its iScream4Equality ice-cream truck tour around Virginia, a promotional device that encouraged conversations within communities about the upcoming election. Hodges supported a news conference on the Capitol stairs, placed opinion pieces and letters to the editor in media outlets and regularly pitched news stories from campaign kick-off to the General Assembly vote.


  • 17 media placements across local, regional, state and national publications
  • 25.2M impressions from earned media
  • HJ-1 and SJ-1 were filed in December 2019, both addressing ratification, which ultimately happened after a vote in the General Assembly on Jan. 27, 2020

Why’d it work?

For starters, it doesn’t hurt that we were given a subject matter that was incredibly timely, relevant and compelling. This has been a decades-long conversation and Virginia had the opportunity to make history. Factor in a purple van giving away ice-cream at community events and we had some great hooks for pitching. We also understood – and set the expectations with our client team – about the media relations long game. National media wasn’t going to cover hyper-local news like the ice-cream van, but our team found opportunities to keep them posted along the way so when the big news happened, they knew where to go for more information.