Yesterday we lost one of the most fervent defenders of legal equality. A woman who recognized the power of the law in shaping every aspect of American society, and who dedicated her life to ensuring this power was used to defend and uplift the voices of the historically marginalized.
It is difficult to think of a single individual who has done more to advance legal equality for women in the United States than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her brilliant legal mind and unwavering tenacity to occupy spaces of power typically reserved for wealthy white men have changed the course of history for generations of women and girls. Not only did she help build, protect, and advance America’s most fundamental principles of equality, but she has shown women and girls that they belong everywhere. Including the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
When reflecting on RBG’s legacy, I thought of countless examples of how she changed the course of modern American history. From protecting access to safe and legal abortion to defending the rights of LGBTQ people to live with dignity and equality, the list kept growing! As she said in a 2006 interview:
Think back to 1787. Who were ‘we the people’? … They certainly weren’t women … they surely weren’t people held in human bondage. The genius of our Constitution is that over now more than 200 sometimes turbulent years that ‘we’ has expanded and expanded.
Justice Ginsburg’s jurisprudence took into account that systems of power had intentionally excluded swaths of the American people and denied them their fundamental rights. This has been a north star at Equality Now, where our staff have dedicated their careers to ensuring that laws work equally for every person. It is only then that we will create a better, safer, fairer, and more prosperous world for all!
2020 has been a year of profound trauma and loss. It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of us. It is times like these where we must lean on and learn from our foremothers. So while we mourn this profound and devastating loss we must also channel RBG’s strength and fight to protect what she gave us.
In sadness and solidarity,
Global Executive Director, Equality Now