We were sitting on the top deck enjoying the first tinge of crisp fall air this evening when we heard that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had passed away. I am numb. As a white woman who has enjoyed great privilege- in no little part due to the dedication and sacrifice of Judge Ginsburg- my heart aches for all of us who have lost an advocate, a true hero of the people. Someone who fought for all of us to have an equal opportunity for happiness and success in this country. I only know that 2020 needs to end soon; I don’t know how much more awful news we can stand.
It is all too easy to discount the importance of what Judge Ginsberg did for us during her lifetime of service. If you’ve never felt the sting of sexism or racism or never had to hide your love for another person, you can’t truly understand the impact she had, or the gravity of what we have lost in her passing. It’s easy to lose patience with the constant struggle, but as human beings we just can’t. I have friends who are just like family and many students who I fear for tonight; some are gay and lesbian, some are people of color, some are women struggling to be taken seriously in a male-dominated world. Just because I haven’t experienced their struggles does not make their struggles any less real. Our job as human beings is to constantly lift each other up, not perpetuate an uneven playing field for those trying to climb higher.
I want to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s memory by standing up for the values she espoused. I will support the rights of all people to have the same opportunity to live their lives and seek happiness as others do, no matter what they look like, where they came from, or whom they choose to love. It seems like such a simple proposition, but nothing is simple these days.
It’s time to have the difficult conversations, to open our minds, to allow everyone to have a seat at the table. It is difficult to find hope in this year filled with chaos and fear, but we just have to keep trying. I will do it for my loved ones, for my students, and for the amazing RBG, May she Rest In Peace. Let’s keep fighting the good fight for true equality. Hope may seem elusive after these many months of challenge, but it is there, always waiting for us to step up and do the right thing.