Monday, September 21, 2020

First John Lewis and now Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday (Sept. 18th)  and with her death and the death of Rep. John Lewis, the United States of America has lost two of its greatest leaders in the manner of a couple of months…two people who will go down in history as champions of the oppressed.

John Lewis - Ruth Bader Ginsberg  Shutterstock photo licensed

When Rep. John Lewis died on July 17th, I thought to myself, “what could I write about this great man?”: because as most of you know, John Lewis was a civil rights advocate, demonstrator, protester turned congressperson.  He worked outside the law demanding that the law change to give equal rights to minorities especially the Black population in my South…towns of my childhood…and then ran for congress to create law for equality.  I was at a loss.

Again, I am at a loss because as most of you also know, Justice Ginsburg lived her adult life inside the law trying cases that would essentially change the interpretation of the law for minorities and women and later ruling on cases for justice, first as a federal judge, then later a Supreme Court Justice.  Two different approaches, but the changes these two amazing people brought about were great none-the-less.

RBG and John Lewis were eloquent in their words, firm in their convictions, and kind in their approach to others.  What could I possibly add?

I can’t, so to honor them and educate us, read John's and Ruth's words because no one can say it better:

"Don't be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time." -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When I was a student, I studied philosophy and religion. I talked about being patient. Some people say I was too hopeful, too optimistic, but you have to be optimistic just in keeping with the philosophy of non-violence.”
 John Lewis

"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time." –Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“If you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take that long hard look and just believe that if you're consistent, you will succeed
John Lewis

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

“When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I will show you change.”
John Lewis

“I don’t say women’s rights—I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
John Lewis

“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.”
John Lewis

We grieve their deaths, but much more we grieve the loss to our world which desperately continues to need their voices, their optimism, their congeniality, their wisdom and their pure doggedness to keep change going and keep us all growing in human kindness and justice for all people.


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