Here Are Three Ways to Channel Your Grief Over RBG’s Death Into Action

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By Cassandra Stone

September 22, 2020

Countless people are mourning RBG. But there are things you can do to sustain her legacy of fighting for human rights.

The death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left millions of people feeling devastated and wondering what the void she’s left in her wake means for the future of the Court and the state of human rights in the US. 

Justice Ginsburg, the second woman to ever sit on the US Supreme Court, dedicated her life to the fight for justice and equality. She helped establish protections against gender discrimination and actively supported same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care, and affirmative action. She was also a staunch proponent of Roe v. Wade, which gave people the legal right to make their own decisions around family planning and health care. 

The loss of Ginsburg—as a pioneer for women’s rights and the underprivileged—is one that is keenly felt around the country.

On Friday, organizations working to advance the issues Ginsburg championed shared reactions on her passing. 

The National Women’s Law Center called the justice commonly referred to as RBG “a fearless champion of justice, a pillar of the law, and a bearer of its conscience.”

“From co-founding the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, to bringing the first case striking down a law that discriminated against women, to building the case that defined the standard for sex discrimination cases, Ginsburg was a visionary who revolutionized the gender equality movement – and the law – long before becoming a Supreme Court justice.”

Ginsburg was “a crucial defender of abortion rights,” the National Abortion Federation said in a statement. “In addition to her whip smart legal mind, what distinguished her approach was a battering-ram insistence on measuring the actual impact of laws on people’s lived lives—not theory, but human life as we must live it. Hers was the truly pro-life stance.”

Over the weekend, people gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court to pay their respects. “Being the mother of a daughter, sometimes you feel like your child doesn’t necessarily have the same rights as her brother,” Janelle Diamond told The Lily. The Baltimore mom brought her 11-year-old to the Court on Saturday. “RBG is a very important figure in our lives as women.”

Countless people are mourning RBG. But there are several substantial ways to channel your grief into action that will sustain her legacy of fighting for human rights.

Take a Stand Against Filling RBG’s Seat Until After the Election 

A petition was created to urge the US Senate to postpone confirming President Donald Trump’s next Supreme Court pick until after the November election. It currently has over 1 million signatures. 

Less than two hours after the high court announced RBG’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated his intention to fill her seat as quickly as possible. In 2016, McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland several months before the 2016 election after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

By signing the petition, you’re acknowledging the hypocrisy of moving forward with a replacement with less than seven weeks before the next presidential election. And although it appears McConnell has the votes fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, you can still contact your senators and let them know you support waiting until after the election to replace Ginsburg.

It’s what Ginsburg wanted: According to NPR, the justice told her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Donate to Important Campaigns, Including Getting More Women Elected

Popular Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue has already seen a massive surge in donations following Ginsburg’s passing Friday night. Within 14 hours after her death was announced to the public, over $30 million was donated through the site. Of that amount, $17 million was donated right after McConnell’s statement, between Friday 9 p.m. to midnight.

Crooked Media, an organization created by former Obama staffers, said Saturday that donations to their fundraiser “Get Mitch or Die Trying,” which distributes donations between 13 Democrats targeting seats held by Republican senators, have seen a significant increase in donations.

She Should Run is a nonprofit organization working to dramatically increase the number of women considering a run for public office. The organization prides itself in motivating women from all walks of life to explore the possibility of public office by identifying and tackling the barriers to elected leadership. Donating to She Should Run is one way to show your support of the next generation of female leaders.

Another organization working to support Democratic leadership—specifically pro-choice legislators— is Emily’s List. As of 2018, Emily’s List has helped elect over 100 Democratic women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 to governors’ seats, and hundreds of women to state and local office. Their goal is to elect more women into legislative bodies and executive seats “so that our families can benefit from the open-minded, productive contributions that women have consistently made in office.”

Reach Out to Voters

There’s still time to reach potential voters. Postcards to Voters is a volunteer-based initiative working to encourage people to cast their ballots, particularly in key races across the country, by sending them friendly, handwritten reminders. Sign up to start writing personalized messages now. 

There are also still a few weeks left for people in several states to register to vote. You can that with Head Count, a non-partisan organization that typically targets young people to register to vote at concerts; due to the pandemic, volunteers can sign up for “at home texting” events. 

You can also volunteer to become a poll worker in your state on Election Day. There is currently a critical shortage of poll workers in the US. Poll workers are vital to democracy, as they inspire civic engagement and help ensure free and fair elections—which is more important than ever this year.

 As Notorious RBG co-author Irin Carmon tweeted, Ginsburg wanted to be remembered as: “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

READ MORE: A Look at the Judges on Trump’s Supreme Court Shortlist


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