School NewsSep 24, 2020

updated Jul 20, 2021

Our community reflects on RBG

Miss Hall’s students and adults recently gathered to share reflections on former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When the news broke about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020, Miss Hall’s Head of School Julia Heaton (pictured here on Halloween 2018 with Deans/justices Higuera and Alberti) was one of the first people Berkshire Eagle reporter Jenn Smith called for a comment.

The following day, Current Events Club co-Heads Dillon Rodgers ’21 and Ebony Marshall ’21 invited MHS students and adults to a September 22 Zoom conversation about the Supreme Court Justice who was arguably the most important legal advocate for women in history.

At that gathering, Dillon welcomed the group and summarized Justice Ginsburg’s achievements, then she and Ebony posed a series of generative prompts which led to robust discussion and reflections.

What, to you, is the most influential thing about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life?

“She saw the world not as it was, but as what it could be. She was a person who was constantly told no and responded with why, or why not?” —Dr. Michael Alexander, History Teacher

“This quote of hers reminds me constantly of the power of what we are doing as educators at MHS: “People ask me sometimes… ‘When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is, ‘When there are nine.’” —Julia Heaton, Head of School

“A lot of what she accomplished was slow-moving. I admire the patience and perseverance of progress she was able to make, oftentimes through baby steps. That’s how some of the most profound change happens.” —Donna Daigle, Science Chair

What will the world look like without RBG and what can we do to keep it positive?

“So many rulings by the Supreme Court are taken for granted. I’m not sure if these rights will be assured going forward. Her passing has me more aware.” —Ruby McDonald ’21

“Since I got the news, I have felt sadness and fear. I don’t know what anybody’s next move will be, and I’m really hoping that people will have the decency to respect RBG’s last wishes and wait to replace her.” —Ebony Marshall ’21

“The loss of Justice Ginsburg drives home how important it is to vote and be politically active, because Supreme Court justices are political appointees. Tracking judicial appointments and the local elections — that matters for these national elections, too.” —Julia Heaton, Head of School

“For those of us who can’t yet vote — and I wish I could! — we can take her fire and run with it, to continue what she was doing. This makes me hopeful.” —Naomi Hopkins ’24

How did RBG affect you, personally?

“Her example has encouraged me to figure out what’s important to me and to think about who’s in control of what’s important to me.” —Ebony Marshall ’21

“I find it inspiring that she would be at work all day long, go, eat dinner, and keep working to fight for equality and social justice — she loved doing her work. When you love what you do, you make bigger waves and inspire more people.” —Naomi Hopkins ‘24

“Her role in securing women’s financial independence has directly affected my ability to be independent — an independence I have always assumed I would have, as a direct result of her work.” —Mary Bazanchuk, Director of Residential Life

“Witnessing her work with the ACLU throughout my life has motivated me to think deeply about perceived gender roles in culture and in society. I have seen my own mother take people to task in terms of equal pay for women, as a result of RBG’s modeling.” —Donna Daigle, Science Chair

“Justice Ginsburg’s friendships with people who thought differently than she did inspires me. The way she listened to people who are ideologically different from her — it’s a model we could all benefit from these days.” —Sarah Virden, Director of Academic Counseling

“Her power was in her dissents. I have learned how the few who disagree can use the minority position to make your case.” —Julia Heaton, Head of School

Did you use RBG as inspiration, or did you ever find yourself in a position where her actions or motivations have inspired you to overcome?

“I teach at an all-girls school — that’s pretty damn inspiring.” —Donna Daigle, Science Chair

“She was tough, resilient, and a mom, a grandma, and a partner. She led a full and passionate life, and she just kept going! She is a great role model for PEOPLE.” —Julia Heaton, Head of School

“I draw inspiration from her — and that doesn’t stop now that she’s gone. I don’t have any clue what I want to do when I want to grow up, but I saw her fighting for civil rights and gender equality until her last breath. Talk about motivating.” — Naomi Hopkins ’24

RBG resources mentioned during the conversation and after, shared for the common good

  • RBG documentary: available free to students via our amazing MHS database subscription