Rest in Power: Carol Robles-Román, Long-Time ERA Advocate and Feminist Trailblazer

It is with great sadness that we announce that our inaugural president and CEO and current vice chair of the ERA Coalition, the esteemed Carol Robles-Román, has died after a battle with lung cancer. Carol’s legacy lives on through her community of beloved family and friends, and her legacy of fighting for sex equality and the leadership of women of color.

Carol Robles-Román’s leadership shepherded in a new era for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). She coined the phrase and developed programs uplifting a “new era for the ERA,” with “women of color leading the way.” She was truly a visionary, and her groundbreaking work was a guiding light for our organization’s continued commitment to building an intentionally inclusive and intersectional movement.

“Carol Robles-Román dedicated her life to public service and to making our city and country more equal and just,” said Mike Bloomberg in a statement. (Courtesy of

Carol Robles-Román previously served as the president and CEO of Legal Momentum, where she spearheaded legislative, legal and policy efforts to ensure equal rights for women and girls, combat human trafficking and violence against women and to protect women’s economic security.

She was also deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for 12 years—one of the longest tenures in the post—and served as a New York state assistant attorney general for civil rights.

“Carol and I would often laugh about our very first meeting,” said past ERA Coalition president and current board member Carol Jenkins. “She was a high school student. I was a TV anchor—a guest speaker at career day. She was deciding between law and media. I told her she could do both—and she did, brilliantly.

“She had 12 powerful years as deputy mayor of the largest city in the country, valiantly serving on the ground during 9/11,” Jenkins continued. “After public service, she came into the nonprofit women’s space, where those media and legal skills served her organizations so well—first at Legal Momentum, and then, fortunately for us, as president and CEO of the ERA Coalition. Carol took on leadership at a crucial time for women’s equality—one of her first actions was to bring women of color into the effort. She was a brilliant spokeswoman for all women facing inequality—able to bring forth clear legal reasoning, and able to connect with those who fell outside of the protection of the Constitution. Sending all of our gratitude and love to her lovely family for the time she spent with us, away from them.”

“In loving memory of Carol Robles-Roman, a dedicated advocate and an exceptional leader,” said former U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney, ERA Coalition board chair. “During her tenure as the CEO of the ERA Coalition, I worked side by side with her to advance gender equality. She contributed her talents also to Hunter College. Tragically, her life was cut short due to exposure to 9/11 toxins. It was an honor to have played a part in crafting the 9/11 Health and Compensation bill that supported her well being.”

“Carol brought her great skill, extensive experience and vast network of contacts to the ERA Coalition,” said ERA Coalition founder and president emerita Jessica Neuwirth. “She lifted the organization to new heights with her strategic vision and her passion for the ERA. Carol was deeply committed to social justice and gender equality rights and remained on the board of directors long after her tenure as CEO. Her many contributions to the women’s movement—at ERA Coalition and elsewhere moved the agenda forward significantly. She will be greatly missed.”

Rest in power, Carol Robles-Román.

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The ERA Coalition's goal is to amend the Constitution to ensure that one cannot be discriminated against because of one’s sex. The ERA Coalition is comprised of some 100 national and local organizations across the country working for the equality of girls and women, boys and men.