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On September 18th, Ruth Bader Ginsburg tragically passed away. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or “RBG,” was one of the strongest and most influential voices for civil rights and liberties, specifically gender equality and women’s interests. In her lifetime, she has worked to ensure equal rights and to build an America where the doors are open for women, as they certainly were not open for her. Her novel and strategic approach in bringing women’s rights to the courts forced men to listen up, demonstrating that discrimination does not only hurt women but men, too. She has championed for so many of our rights that we often now see as a given. Without her, the future of America- and the future of women in America- looks seriously grim. 

Before her passing, Ginsburg stated that her “most fervent wish” is that she “not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Even upon her last days, Ginsburg had one thing in mind: the wellbeing of Americans. Her dedication to this country, to the very end, never faltered. Sadly, her passing opens up the (very likely) opportunity for Trump to appoint a Republican. If this happens, the Supreme Court, going forward, will be dominated by Conservatives. Mitch McConnell has not left much room for speculation about what will come next, previously stating that the Republican-led Senate would confirm a nominee should a vacancy occur during this election year. And, well, here we are. 

A Republican-dominated Supreme Court could mean many things for women and civil rights in America. The values that Ginsburg fought for are absolutely not reflected in the current administration. Ginsburg repeatedly declared safe, medical abortions a woman’s right, while the Trump administration has forced Planned Parenthood out of Title X funding - a serious threat to the reproductive health of millions. Ginsburg persistently fought for gender equality, specifically in the workplace, while the Trump administration has blocked laws that promote equal pay. It’s undoubtedly going to be a scary time for women if the Supreme Court is given the means to make any decisions regarding women and civil rights that reflect the GOP’s current values. 

So… Where do we go from here? The passing of such a strong, determined, and fearless leader leaves so many devastated, confused, and terrified. 

We are allowed to be terrified, but we have to find the strength, in this extremely overwhelming time, to stand up and fight for what we believe in, and what RBG so passionately believed in. We must look into ourselves, and then at our candidates, and vote for those that most reflect our values. We have to demand better. We have to use our voices to speak up against inequalities. We must vote as our lives depend on it because for so many, their lives do. And we must remember what RBG was fighting for. 

Throughout her entire career, RBG paved the road for many. Her life was truly dedicated to fighting for justice for all. She advocated for marginalized communities relentlessly, never backing down from her goal of making America a place where everyone is treated equally. It is up to us to continue her fight. We must pick up where she left off on her mission to ensure justice and equality. Ruth Bader Ginsburg never stopped fighting for a better America, an America that holds space and opportunity for everyone. She never gave up. 

Neither should we.

Miranda is a political science prelaw and journalism major at Michigan State University. She loves yoga, pasta salad, and plants (she currently has 42!).
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