Ari Dubow / Sun City Editor

Prof. Liz Karns, industrial and labor relations, dons a dissent collar at the Saturday rally in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '54.

October 18, 2020

Demonstrators Pay Respect to Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 Through Women’s March and Virtual Rally

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Women across the Cornell and Ithaca communities donned dissent collars and marched from North campus to the downtown courthouse on Saturday — joining scores of women nationwide who marched in memory of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54.

The socially distanced march and virtual rally began at 11 a.m. from North Campus, near Justice Ginsburg’s old college dorm room, to the Tompkins County courthouse. The path of the march symbolized her journey from college to her ultimate destination in the Supreme Court.

There, the organizers spoke to the crowd through a megaphone about the importance of having women’s voices heard.

Event organizer Jana Hexter ’95 described the event as a commemoration of Ginsburg and the strides she made for women — and a stand for those same values. But she also saw it as a prototype for how people can protest through the pandemic.

“I feel like this is the defining moment for our generation and there is an imperative to be [a] voice for the values I hold dear,” Hexter said. “It’s simply not an option to be silent.”

At 3 p.m., the group reorganized online for a virtual rally where 15 local Ithaca leaders, professors, musicians and a poet gathered to commemorate Ginsburg’s legacy.

Notable figures who spoke during the rally included Tompkins County Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne (D-2nd District), the Democratic candidate for New York’s 23rd Congressional District Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 and the Democratic candidate for New York Assembly District 125 Anna Kelles.

Speakers at the rally repeatedly spoke to the threat that Ginsburg’s supreme court replacement poses to her legacy on abortion, as well as the importance of voting.

“We can do justice, in many ways, by exercising our rights to speak, to protest, to dissent and of course, by exercising our right to vote,” Prof. Risa Lieberwitz, industrial and labor relations, said at the virtual rally.

Later, Lieberwitz told The Sun that she wanted to reflect on how many people Justice Ginsburg had touched, specifically towards the women across generations and how important it is to maintain her legacy.

Lieberwitz spoke about Justice Ginsburg’s intellect, courage to fight for equality, and that she never lost her passion for fighting for justice, “hallmarks of great lawyers and great judges.”

Other speakers helped connect Ginsburg’s legacy to the present as Tompkins County Legislator Amanda Champion (D-12th District) said, “today those in power still don’t want to listen to her and stop this ridiculous circus of a rushed confirmation of a Supreme Court judge who will undoubtedly take women back to 1920.”

Master of Ceremonies Michelle Courtney Berry MPS ’92 concluded the rally, saluting Justice Ginsburg’s life, ending the speech with “we will vote, we will vote, we will vote and we will vote again.”