As hundreds of survivors across the country gather together at the Survivor’s Summit to set the agenda together as a collective, organized voice, we are reminded to look to the leaders who came before us to fuel our momentum forward. Aleyamma Mathew, Executive Director of the Collective Future Fund, issued the following statement remembering the work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and connecting it to the work being led today by Black, Indigenous, and survivors of color to end violence and build a future of safety and dignity:
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be remembered as a powerful, pioneering advocate for the rights of women and girls in the United States. Her groundbreaking litigation work before the Supreme Court tore down so many of the structural barriers that she herself overcame in the course of her life and career. She was a dedicated feminist, a truly brilliant legal mind, and for many an iconic and inspirational figure into her final years.
As we memorialize Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week, we reflect on her long history working for gender equality and how she broke barriers in the law and made critical decisions that protected women’s reproductive choices and ensured bodily autonomy. This is the first step. Now we must continue to improve on the foundation she laid.
It is our duty to acknowledge her shortcomings – around race, criminal justice, Indigenous rights – but it is also our duty to address those shortcomings now by supporting the leadership women of color and resourcing their critical work to address the impact gender inequality on the lives of all women, survivors, trans and gender-nonconforming people, not just cisgender white women. Black, Indigenous, and other women and activists of color have and continue to play an immeasurably important role in securing and defending justice and visioning well into the tomorrow that Justice Ginsburg spoke of when she talked about writing dissents to push toward change. When we look to what’s next, we know that protecting the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and credibility is critical to uplifting the rights and solutions of survivors, Black women, Indigenous women, women of color, transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Survivors knew this when they led organizing in support of Christine Blasey Ford in 2018, and today we once again look to the leadership and power of survivors and Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color.
We cannot rush through the process of selecting the next Supreme Court justice in the midst of a chaotic election that may very well appear before the court. We must build on the fire and resilience that was passed to us by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and defend the court. We must gather our collective strength and move forward with the determination, vision and clear-minded focus on gender justice that she embodied. May we strive to learn from her successes and her shortcomings, and may her memory be a revolution and a blessing.”