2020 S. Elizabeth Smith All Rights Reserved

I admit when my husband informed me via text about RBG on Friday, I cried. I found myself feeling a sense of panic and crushing loss. I felt like screaming…“I can’t take any more!” I had this sensation that all gains for civil liberties were crumbling before my eyes. Women were on the verge of losing what we had worked so hard to gain…(Insert screeching of tires here.) Wait a minute….why am I panicking?

I know from experience when women or girls are passionate and expressive they are mislabeled as “hysterical” “angry” or “nasty”. Hysterical is used to discount and minimize women as individuals and to block our voice. Mislabeling does not only apply to women. Sometimes men are also mislabeled. President Obama spoke passionately at Senator Lewis’ memorial service and was mislabeled as “angry, lost control, and ridiculous”. Anyone who listened to that speech knows that President Obama was in complete control and impassioned… not angry.

We stand on a foundation that can never be eroded or taken away from us as a culture unless we offer it up in tribute.

Halloween 2019

Last Halloween, in 2019, my youngest child, who chose to dress as RBG, complete with gavel, wig, lace collar, and THE FUTURE IS FEMALE t-shirt under her judge’s robe. What a beautiful culture when a tiny, Jewish, law-geek, woman in her 80’s can become a rock star and cultural icon and be celebrated for all that she is!

The Notorious RBG

I think of every shiny statue that was ever granted for an MVP, Emmy, Grammy… to me, RBG eclipsed them all. Nina Totenberg called Justice Ginsburg “a performer”. This is a typical trait of rock stars. RBG blossomed from a soft-spoken hummingbird-sized-woman into a FIERCE hero fighting for justice and equality for all.   Rock stars are just normal people who put their quiet or shy demeanor behind them once the lights turn up. They BECOME the rock star. They put on a show. It is real, just another side that doesn’t come out in daily life. They don’t panic…they show the world all they can BE.

RBG fought for each and every one of us. She dedicated her life to the rule of law and justice for all. It even sounds like a superhero motto…

If you are consumed by worry that “we” may lose, however you define loss…. RBG made some of her most historic and lasting arguments when she “lost” a vote and wrote her dissent, giving an alternative view of the case. Those dissents can be used in the future to shape other arguments and opinions that will continue to shape our Nation. She Did. Not. Lose. She wrote our FUTURE. John Lewis was beaten bloody at Selma in 1965. He. Did. Not. Lose. He galvanized a Nation and a movement, and he turned his drops of blood into a life of service and leadership. This is not a time to be paralyzed by the fear of defeat. It is not a time to panic. It is a time to celebrate the life and leadership of superheroes including civil rights royalty RBG and John Lewis.

RBG’s work on civil rights was a decades-long endeavor. She took cases of men so she could win rights for women and eliminate gender discrimination. It was brilliant. Her work as a Justice on the Supreme Court encouraged us all to be empowered to be anything our heart desires. There is no job we can not do… and like RBG we can do it while being a proud wife and mother if we so choose.

I suggest we wipe away our tears, fold and lay down the sackcloth, drop the ashes of mourning, pick up the challenge of our heroes, and sing the chorus of our rockstars…there is work to be done! We have a voice unless we choose not to use it.

Don’t succumb to fear-mongering. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by feelings of fear and loss. Light a candle to celebrate lives lived on a mission, pick up your own mission and carry it forward with zeal and passion. Support and celebrate the diversity of people around you, even as they chant a belief different than yours, because that is the heart of everything RBG and John Lewis stood for. Dissent. The freedom to dissent, the right to disagree. They stand for Civil Rights and Justice for All. I urge you to nurture your friends across the aisle or sidewalk or street or hallway. Ginsburg and Scalia had a lasting friendship while holding very different viewpoints on major issues. Don’t lose family, friends, or neighbors because they have the “wrong” sign in their yard. Celebrate that we live in a nation where we can each have our own beliefs and proclaim them for all to see.

Copyright 2020 by Arianna Marie Ogle-Garza All Rights Reserved

Senator John Lewis did not leave it to our imagination. He challenged us directly “I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe… Now it is your turn to let freedom ring!” “Get in trouble. Good trouble.”

Be passionate. Use YOUR voice! Promote equality and justice in your community… your workplace, industry, school, or your home. I don’t care if you are the size of a hummingbird, a grandma in her 80’s, or a child of 10. Single or married, gay or straight, male or female or other… It is YOUR TIME. It is OUR TIME. Be bold! Be yourself! BE! “Be a little more RBG!”

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Copyright 2020 Vanessa Ogle all rights reserved. Title artwork RBG Rockstar Royalty image by S. Elizabeth Smith Copyright 2020 all rights reserved. Royalty John Lewis image Copyright 2020 by Arianna Marie Ogle-Garza All Rights Reserved. The Future Is Female artwork by Vanessa Ogle, All Rights Reserved, Hummingbird reference from Rachel Maddow, Be a little more RBG quote by Dacia Russell.