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Mourning the Death of Feminist Icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Trailblazing Lawyer’s Agenda for Equality and Justice

US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen during a public appearance hosted by the Museum of the City of New York at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York, NY, December 15, 2018.  © 2018 Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa via AP Images

My heart is broken. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is almost too much to process. Justice Ginsburg, the second woman appointed  to the US Supreme Court, was more than a feminist icon, she was a collective feminist grandmother to women, girls, non-binary people – to everyone who struggles to imagine themselves as having a powerful voice for change.

She trailblazed what it meant to be a lawyer who was a mom. A lawyer who fought for gender equality. A lawyer who was petite but unyielding. A lawyer who was a person first, with wit and compassion. With a heart so heavy, it’s impossible to articulate what she meant to women's rights, to a movement that is global, that is growing, that is being squeezed and threatened.

Justice Ginsburg founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. She held the unambiguous belief that: "Women's rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agenda, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy." She brought that belief to the bench – not as a political agenda, but as a constitutional agenda for equality and justice.

Her push for gender equality and for recognizing women's rights as human rights was revolutionary when she began her career. It is heartbreaking that today gender equality has become politicized and framed as part of a radical agenda.

We should work to ensure that Justice Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court shares that same commitment to gender equality. It will require everyone who believes that women's rights are human rights to raise their voice, no matter how petite, and to continue the fight for equality of all people.

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