Icon, role model, champion for equality: Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

History teacher Brittany Eaton reflects on the legacy of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Sept. 18

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Illustration by Shane Park

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing on Sept. 18, led to nation-wide grieving and reflection. History teacher Brittany Eaton says of Ginsburg: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and legacy inspires me to fight for what I know is right, to keep advocating equity, equality and justice even if there are forces fighting against it, and to ultimately never give up.”

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Fierce, resilient, determined, and fighter are just a few of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s descriptors. Indeed, ever since I started teaching 12th grade Government/Economics over six years ago, I’ve had a fascination with the “notorious” RBG because of these admirable traits of hers. No matter what side of the political aisle you side with, most agree that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was and remains a legend. Her life story is inspiring — she was a wife, mother, lawyer, and judge who fought for freedom, justice, and equality.

Truly, it’s hard for me to imagine a greater role model. She was an icon whose passing on Sept. 18 rocked the country. The week after she lost her battle with cancer, millions paid tribute to all of the triumphant accomplishments RBG made in her lifetime. Her tenacious advocacy and profound impact will not go unnoticed. 

With her passing, I feel even more of a responsibility to teach my students about RBG and her legacy. I always approach my Judicial Branch unit with much anticipation and excitement, especially knowing that I get the opportunity to teach students about the highest court in our land. The Supreme Court makes decisions that affect the entire U.S. population.

I’ve always considered myself a “justice” person who highly values equity, ethics, equality and fairness. Likewise, RBG spent her life fighting for justice. Her trailblazer attitude and inability to give up made her a champion for equality. She demanded gender equal treatment under the law, racial equality, equal pay, women’s freedoms, and social justice among so many other humanitarian causes. Ginsburg always demonstrated what law is truly meant to be. Some have even gone as far to say that she is the “Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and legacy inspires me to fight for what I know is right, to keep advocating equity, equality and justice even if there are forces fighting against it, and to ultimately never give up. She is one of the reasons I am so determined to be the best teacher, leader, and advisor that I can possibly be. By sharing her trials, tribulations, accomplishments and victories, my goal is that students become just as inspired to work hard in hopes to leave a legacy as big as the “notorious” RBG.