An inspiration to future trailblazers

Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught generations of women and girls that they can change the world


Scott Powers

Samantha poses with a portrait of all the female Supreme Court justices at the National Portrait Gallery during her family’s visit to Washington DC in the summer of 2018. Samantha hopes to one day join that hall of fame as a woman serving on the highest court in the land alongside her idol, Justice Ginsburg. Photo courtesy of Samantha Powers.

Samantha Powers, co-news editor

On Christmas morning four years ago, my parents gave me a book entitled Notorious RBG. On the inside cover, they had written a note: “Inspiration for the next trailblazer.” When I began to read about this small but mighty dissenter who stood up for women’s rights, I had no idea how much my life was about to change. As soon as I turned the last page of that book I knew immediately what I wanted to be when I grew up: exactly like her.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to me, she is a role model.”

I am aware of the irony that my introduction to this Jewish icon happened to be on Christmas, but I like to think that RBG appreciates unity between different groups of people. As people with vastly different spiritual backgrounds mourn her loss, I have no doubt that she is receiving prayers of all kinds from the diverse array of people whose lives she impacted. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to me, she is a role model. From a smart-as-a-whip high school journalist in Brooklyn to a Harvard and then Columbia law student at the top of her class to a judge at the highest court in the land who commanded respect, she never stopped to rest. I was shattered by the news of her passing, but I am comforted that she can now rest after 87 years of working tirelessly to break barriers for millions of people in our country. Ruth touched all of our lives in her ongoing crusade for human rights. She was exactly what the world needed at exactly the right time. Her loss was a cosmic shift; it feels bigger than any one of us.

That’s what Ruth stood for in her years as a women’s rights activist, lawyer and eventually Supreme Court justice: dedication to bettering our country for those who are a part of it. It was about more than just the cases she argued or the dissents she delivered, it was about the precedents they set for generations to come. Ruth Bader Ginsburg forever changed the course of history.

Ruth showed generations of women and girls that if something isn’t right, we should get out there and fix it.”

Ruth is an incredible role model for girls and women across the country, including myself. Who knew that a quiet girl from Brooklyn would grow up to be a social justice pioneer? Ruth’s humble beginnings as the daughter of a Jewish immigrant and a Polish New Yorker never stopped her from following her dreams. Even after her mother passed away on the day she graduated high school, Ruth persisted. It is this same persistence that she applied to her crusade for human rights, always pushing against the status quo.

Ruth showed generations of women and girls that if something isn’t right, we should get out there and fix it. Because of her strong example, I want to go out into the world and make it better. I fiercely believe that there is nothing more patriotic than the desire to better one’s country, and I feel that it is my duty and my honor to spend my life in pursuit of a greater nation for all of us.

Ruth taught me that sometimes I must swim against the current to get upstream. She taught me that when I see something that isn’t right, I should challenge it. And she taught me that sometimes, a woman must put on her dissenting collar and make her voice heard.