Here's to a Heroic Fight

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a hero of ours at Black Sheep, for obvious reasons. Without her work, quite frankly, who knows if Black Sheep would exist.

It was an almost instant flood across social media. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, senior member of the Supreme Court and legendary social justice advocate, was gone. My heart sank, and that nearly-impossible-to-put-into-words sensation when your body is struck cold while your brain tries to make sense of what you’re reading took hold. I rapid-fire-texted family, friends and the Black Sheep team. I lit my RBG prayer candle in the kitchen. And then I cried. This flurry of private and public grief carried on well into the night and into the weekend. And there was a refrain to all our mourning.

How sorry we are for our democracy.

How scary it is that our judicial system seemed to sit on one woman’s shoulders.

How impractical it was that she carried so much weight for so long.

And then, when the shock lifted a bit, the calls for action.

Check your registration status.

Harangue your senators to stall an appointment vote.

Vote in November.

Before you mistake my grief for pessimism, let me be clear—I believe in all those actions, wholeheartedly. Please, go make sure you’re registered to vote. And tell your senators to hold on a confirmation hearing until a new President is elected—just like we did in 2016. And please, please, PLEASE get yourself to a polling location to cast a ballot by November 3rd. But right now, I’m still back in that first moment, with a sunken heart.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a hero of ours at Black Sheep, for obvious reasons. Without her work, quite frankly, who knows if Black Sheep would exist. I started this agency by myself—a woman looking to make an impact on the advertising world. I didn’t need a man to co-sign my business license or help me establish credit with a bank. I was free to start this work without a second thought, all because Ruth Bader Ginsburg had given it a tremendous amount of thought and a whole-lot-of-legal hell. Because of her relenting (and often thankless) work, I enjoy protections that even my own mother was denied.

We owe it to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy to remember that she was a faceted woman, not just an icon of justice. She was as charming as she was fierce. She was a mother who told her son’s principal, “This child has two parents. Please alternate calls,” after being consulted too regularly about his unruly behavior in school. She had complex relationships with equally complex friends, like Court Justice Antonin Scalia ("I love him. But sometimes I'd like to strangle him.”). And she was unafraid to be brutally honest, like in her infamous retort about when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court. “When there are nine,” she said.

I want to remember all of this because it helps me remember that people who change the world aren’t superhuman—they’re completely human. Just like me and just like you. They’re the people who show up. Even when they’re afraid. Even when they’re feeling hopeless. Even when the deck is stacked. Because the ideals, rights and privileges of this country deserve to meet their full potential—to lift all, not just some of us, up. And that fight is worth it, every single time.

While we’re facing uncertainty on the horizon, there’s one thing we know for sure—RBG loved a fight. And in honoring her legacy, we’re being called to pick up where she left off. Lucky for us, we have a lifetime of smart, poignant work to help guide the way. Ruth Bader Ginsburg stuck up for the voices left unheard, and pointed out the ways in which bias keeps us from being a just nation under the law. She dissented, even if it didn’t make her popular. She pictured a world where women were not secondary citizens—but architects of their own success. She was also a beloved wife, a mother, a daughter and friend. 

As the rallying cry goes: May her legacy be a blessing. And a revolution.  

Aimee Woodall