By Lauren Smith and Jordan Varney
DAVIS — “She left a legacy of open doors and barrier free places for women and the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Mayor Gloria Partida opened with this statement at a candlelit vigil on Saturday evening. The event, held in Central Park, was organized by the Davis Phoenix Coalition to honor the life, legacy and advocacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Partida said, “We are all sad on this day, but we can do more than this… we can go forward, we have power… and because of people like Ruth, we have a voice and we see the path she has laid forward for us… let’s take that opportunity that she gave us and not let her legacy die.”
Dillan Horton, the Vice Chair of the Yolo County Democratic Party, introduced a full roster of elected officials and prominent women in the community. All of the speakers spoke about how Ruth Bader Ginsburg touched not just their lives but many, many people’s lives.
Former UC Davis law professor Marty West shared how her law career paralleled Ginsburg’s closely. In her vigil speech, West thanked Justice Ginsburg stating, “She really is responsible for creating a law that all of us really benefit from every day.”
Justice Ginsburg’s heart and strength of character also influenced Linda Deos, a Civil Rights attorney and County Supervisor candidate.
Deos met Justice Ginsburg in 2012. At the vigil, Deos wore the same outfit that she did when meeting the Supreme Court justice. Deos stated, “It was the honor of my life to be sworn into the United State Supreme Court by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2012. I couldn’t believe that it was actually going to be her there to welcome me to the Supreme Court along with some others, but it was truly a day I can never forget… I believe her spirit is going to keep on living with us.”
Denise Hoffner from the Yolo County ACLU thanked Justice Ginsburg for her work in co-founding the Women’s Right Project at the ACLU stating that she “helped lay the groundwork for future women’s rights advocacy [and] in her honor, we will be dedicating the ACLU Center for Liberty to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Other speakers shared personal impacts Ruth Bader Ginsburg had on their own lives.
UC Davis Law School Professor Lisa Ikemoto stated, “I grew up knowing that gender and racial equality were and are core principles of a just society. I also grew up knowing that because of her work, those values cannot be taken for granted.”
Ikemoto honored Ginsburg’s endless work for gender equality stating that although “it’s the law that tends to be narrow and formalistic… that was her battleground… she validated social progress and demonstrated laws’ capacity to extend definitions of equality.”
The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known for her profound dissents, her fortitude, her graciousness and her endless work for gender equality, is a loss that ripples throughout the country.
As Justice Sonia Sotomayor says, “She was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights. She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival.”