I was walking the dogs with my Mom yesterday, when my Dad called unexpectedly. He told my Mom that she needed to let me know that Justice Ginsburg had passed away. He didn’t want me to have to hear about it from a Google alert. Justice Ginsburg remains a hero of mine. I grew up in a very conservative community that didn’t respect women and believed that feminism was a dirty word. I was often made to feel “less than” because of my gender and I was patronized by men who thought it was their god-given right to bully women. Justice Ginsburg was a beacon of hope for me and her lengthy career defending the marginalized inspired me to use my talents in service of people who needed their stories shared. I had a silly tradition of sending Justice Ginsburg cards when she achieved something great or more recently, when she was ill and in the hospital. Although, I was never sure if she received them, it was my way of saying thank you for everything she had done for myself and for women as a whole.
Today I would like to invite you to join me in a new tradition. If you loved her as much as I did, you might be feeling hopeless and lost and scared. These are valid feelings and I’m feeling all of them right alongside you. It is tempting to stay in that fear and cynicism, but it is unproductive and not what Justice Ginsburg would want. Instead, I propose that everyday we wake up and ask ourselves, “How will I honor her legacy today?” Justice Ginsburg hung on for as long as she could and I’m sure she went out fighting; I don’t think she knew any other way. It is our turn to start fighting and honor her legacy through our actions. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas:
1. Register To Vote
You still have time! It will take you about 10 minutes and it can change the course of our country’s future. Polls are showing only a small divide between the presidential candidates right now, but they’re only polling “likely voters” which means they are not polling a lot of people between the ages of 18-35. If you are in this demographic, you have the power to decide this election, but you cannot do that if you are not registered to vote.
“The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
2. Check Your Voter Registration
Do it today. Deadlines for voter registration are coming up fast in many states. In the chaos of COVID, many of us have moved to be with family or friends. If you forgot to update your address or any other information, now is the time to do it.
3. Have a Plan for Voting
Are you requesting a mail-in ballot? Are you voting in-person early? Are you dropping your ballot off at a polling station? Make a plan to make sure your voice is heard. Voter suppression is real. Do not let a corrupt administration keep you from voting. Have a plan and know exactly how, where and when you are going to vote.
“We should not be held back from pursuing our full talents, from contributing what we could contribute to the society, because we fit into a certain mold ― because we belong to a group that historically has been the object of discrimination.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
4. Vote For Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
He may not have been your first choice, but he is the right choice. If you care about women’s rights and care about the rights of marginalized groups, you will not allow a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic man to continue to be President. I believe Joe Biden will serve this country well and choose a replacement for RBG that will uphold the basic human rights of women and other minority groups.
5. Don’t Just Focus on the Presidential Election
The greatest changes felt are the ones that happen close to home. It’s easy to find out information about the Presidential nominees. You have to actually do some research to know what’s going on in your Senate and Congressional races. Do the research. It’s worth it. These are the people that make the decisions that directly affect you and the people you care about. Make sure they have your best interests at heart.
6. Research the Judges
Do you think our judicial system is broken? Have you seen that long list of judges on the back of your ballot? That’s called a judicial performance evaluation. It decides whether or not judges retain their position. If you want to see change in the judicial system, you need to start researching the judges in your area and their rulings. If you think they are making biased and unfair rulings: show it on your ballot.
“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Mitch McConnell came out last night, only hours after RBG’s death and said that he would move to fill her seat before the election, in direct opposition to her dying wish. Signing this petition is a first step in letting McConnell and the rest of the senate know that the citizens of this country will not stand for this hypocritical and disrespectful decision.
“When I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
8. Write Your Senator
Let them know that you do not believe RBG’s seat should be filled until after the election. Remind them of the stance McConnell took 4 years ago when the Obama Administration had their chance to fill a seat in the last year of his term. Point to the potential of lost rights for women and other marginalized groups if the Trump Administration is allowed to appoint another Supreme Court Justice.
“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
9. Make a List and Reach Out
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on Instagram last night and asked voters to make a list of 5 people they could reach out to that they believed they could get to vote in the election. If you reached out to 5 people each week before the election, you would be helping prompt 30 people to vote.
10. Volunteer at Your Polling Station
If you’re like me and live in Colorado, we have the amazing problem of having too many volunteers to run our polling station, but not all states are so lucky. This is especially true in the era of COVID, because many of the people who usually run polls are elderly and at higher risk. Make sure polling stations have the support they need to be open to the public. If polling stations are not able to open in convenient areas, many people will give up and not vote. Make sure that doesn’t happen.
11. Volunteer for a Campaign
If you find a campaign you are passionate about in your state, ask if you can volunteer for them. You can usually do it from home or from their office. It’s a great way to get involved and educate other voters.
12. Donate to a Campaign
If you have the resources and feel passionately about a campaign, then donate to them. A lot of local campaigns are grassroots campaigns and need all the support they can get.
13. Post on Social Media
I know we all get tired of seeing political posts on Instagram and Twitter, but right now it’s absolutely necessary to keep people focused on what’s at stake. Don’t let social media be a distraction, let it be a reminder.
14. Get Creative
Make a TikTok or YouTube Video getting people excited about voting. Paint a portrait of RBG and promise it the first person who sends you their voter registration confirmation. Write a script that informs people about the issues in an entertaining way. Use your talent and your influence to make people want to be involved in the democratic process.
15. Have the Hard Conversations
It’s easy to sit around and talk with you friends who agree with you, but what about the people in your life that don’t? Are you reaching out and having the hard conversations with the people who are on the fence about voting or aren’t sure who they’re voting for in this election? Those are the people you need to talk to the most.
“How to be Like RBG:
Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want, then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor.
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
16. Take Care of Yourself
If you’re afraid or exhausted or heartbroken: you are not alone. So many people are feeling the exact same way. You cannot offer anything if you are empty inside. You cannot fight if you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Take care of yourself. Give yourself breaks, spend time with people you love, watch a silly TV show, walk the dogs. Do not let the worry and fear consume you. RBG was one of the greatest women who ever lived, but she fought as hard as she did because she believed in the women that would come after her. We will carry her torch, but we will do it together. You’re not alone.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.