My pal Lilly Ledbetter will be on The Colbert Report on Halloween. I think it’s only fair that I issue a warning to Mr. Colbert: I think he may have finally met his match. I’m thinking he won’t know what to do with the lethal combination of her sweet Southern drawl, her infectious laugh, and her front-row perspective on history.
My friendship with Lilly continues to be one of the great privileges of my life. The friendship has taken me all over the United States — to AAUW National Conventions (she hasn’t missed one since 2009), to various AAUW state conventions around the country, and to the Democratic National Conventions in 2008 and 2012. We’ll do New Orleans together for AAUW’s 2013 National Convention in June. I do some of her letter- and speech-writing, and she mentioned me in her book.
This great friendship formed despite meeting under unfortunate circumstances: The U.S. Supreme Court had just ruled against Lilly in its wrongheaded May 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Lilly and I lobbied Capitol Hill together after the decision came down. Our work helped pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and we grew even closer as we lobbied together over the years on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Since 2009, Lilly and I have worked tirelessly to pass this important legislation to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Throughout our advocacy work, Lilly has always marveled, “How is it possible you’re not a lawyer?” I always respond, ”I just play one on TV.”
But she’s not just a friend of mine — she’s a friend to AAUW. Lilly has taken the time to get to know AAUW members across the country, and she does so because she sincerely enjoys it. She always tells me that sitting down with AAUW members is like relaxing in her own family room. She basically did just that with my own family recently. Much to our delight, Lilly had dinner with me, my mom, and my brother on a recent campaign swing through Ohio.
I expect that Colbert will throw a few curveballs Lilly’s way — and, considering the timing, he may even work in a Halloween costume or two. But I’m not worried. I know Lilly will handle his questions with aplomb, especially if he asks about her own Halloween costume. That one’s easy. She’s a feminist icon.
P.S. Interested in learning Lilly’s story and supporting future fair pay efforts? Everyone who donates $130 or more to AAUW receives a limited-edition copy of her book, Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond
Update: Watch the interview by following the link below: