By Deb Browning, Desert Southwest Conference Chair of Status & Role of Women
The streets empty of the usual downtown traffic, we walked three short blocks to the courthouse. Flowers, candles, and a few signs were propped against the shoulder-high wall stating ‘Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse.’ An hour before the vigil was scheduled to begin there were no other people in the area. As we waited on concrete benches releasing the day’s heat against our bottoms and legs, I thought about my conversation earlier in the evening with my daughter about my thirteen-year-old granddaughter. “She was the one who told me. She is upset. I didn’t know or care about anything like this when I was thirteen.”
The first group arrived. Four masked women in shorts placed signs against the wall and sat on the ground. We stood behind them as more people arrived, everyone in masks. Parents with children in a wagon. Men holding hands. A woman in a black robe and lace collar. About thirty people gathered when a woman with a baby in a stroller announced she had extra candles for anyone that wanted them. We accepted and smelled jasmine from the lit tealights in our hands.
“Would anyone mind if I said a few words?” The woman with the wagon addressed the crowd. “My two- year old daughter has a rare genetic disorder, a pre-existing medical condition. I don’t what will happen if the ACA ends.”
The woman in the black robe raised her arms in a victory stance. “What are we going to do?”
“Vote.” The crowd answered.
It grew quiet. I thought about the plethora of news articles, books, and even movies about the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Assigned to write an article on her, what could I possibly add to the information and discourse?
A girl, looking to be a preteen, placed a drawing against the wall. A boy near the same age wore a t-shirt, ‘Sandra, Ruth, Sonia, Elena,’ it said. Another girl about their age placed a folded letter against the wall. I thought about my granddaughter.
May the memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg be a blessing.