Springfield vigil for RBG

Officials and residents share gratitude and calls for action

On Saturday, Sept. 19, the day after Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, community leaders and residents gathered outside the federal courthouse downtown for a vigil. It was one of many at courthouses across the country. 

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton attended with some family members. She said as a young lawyer, she saw Ginsburg as a "real role model of what it means to be a strong woman who's bold enough and courageous enough to be who you are, and go into spaces, as she said, where you may be the only one, but you belong there." Stratton said she is inspired by her example. "We need trailblazers like her to lead the way. And then it's now up to us to keep fighting and to make sure that we create space for other women," noting the need for a continued push for equity for all marginalized people.

Monica Zanetti, a Springfield artist and business owner, was there with her 12-year-old daughter. "I'm teaching my daughter about her, and how important it is to continue to fight." Some in the crowd wore apparel with artwork Zanetti had created with images of Ginsburg. "I'm not a big speech person. I put my thoughts in my art." 

There were more than 100 attendees. A sign that read, "May her memory be a revolution," was surrounded by candles and flowers. Speakers included religious leaders, activist and historian Kathryn Harris, Veronica Espina of the Springfield Immigrant Action Network and congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. The crowd overflowed into the street, prompting a police barricade.

Springfield city council member Doris Turner also addressed the crowd, noting Ginsburg's desire that a replacement judge not be appointed until after a new president is sworn in. While the evening was reverential and much gratitude was shared, it was also a call to action. Turner asked that everyone vote. "We will take others with us. We will talk to others about it. And in doing so, that way, we will truly honor her life and legacy."

Contact Rachel Otwell at rotwell@illinoistimes.com.

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