“Bzzzzzzz”. Just another mobile phone notification on a Friday afternoon. Except it wasn’t. The Honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. I sat down and took a few minutes of solitude to comprehend the magnitude of this.
As a 25-year old woman, political scientist, and literacy advocate, I serve six California counties as Miss San Joaquin County in the Miss America Organization. The “Notorious R.B.G.” has always been a personal role model, and is a great loss amid a global pandemic and national political upheaval.
Justice Ginsburg was notorious for many reasons. She persevered through personal struggles and stood up for those around her when women were not paid equally in the workplace. Justice Ginsburg harnessed the power of fashion to feminize a traditionally male outfit. Her dissent collar will forever live in the hearts of everyone who admired her.
Perhaps most notorious of all was her understanding of the human condition. She challenged sex-based discriminatory laws and regulations by bringing cases where men were impacted. Her case, Moritz v. Commissioner, set a legal precedent which was used to bring forward more cases to tackle discrimination.
My phone continued to buzz with texts and phone calls from friends. Social media lit up. As a country, we mourned her loss. Upon hearing of RBG’s passing, a friend asked me “how do we honor her, since we didn’t know her personally?” I’ll tell you what I told her.
We must live her legacy by picking up where she and other leaders left off. Do not take advantage of, or forget how we earned the right to vote, the right for equal pay, the right to sign a bank loan without a male relative, and much more. Do not take rights and privileges for granted. Stand up for yourself and others. Educate yourself and those around you. Persevere. Think critically about your decisions. Be unashamedly passionate about your convictions.
I ask you to join me in honoring the legacy of the Notorious R.B.G. by living her legacy. Never be afraid to dissent. Live notoriously.
For more information on the life and career of Justice Ginsburg, click here.