Members of Berkeley community hold vigil to commemorate political life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsberg RBG vigil
Kate Finman/Staff
Participants started the event by lighting candles in an “RBG” formation surrounded by a white scarf and colorful flags in a Tibetan-style memorial.

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About a dozen community members gathered Saturday night outside the Alameda County Berkeley Courthouse, singing and sharing words to commemorate the legacy of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg one week after her death.

Participants started the event by lighting candles in an “RBG” formation surrounded by a white scarf and colorful flags in a Tibetan-style memorial. The event was a follow-up to a memorial held one week earlier.

“Grief is a very important part of what we need as a country to come to terms with (Ginsburg’s death),” said event attendee Sky Nelson at the memorial. “Grief is really transformative.”

The group then gave speeches about Ginsburg’s significance and sang in unison. One event attendee performed an Indigenous song for the group to commemorate Indigenous women and to bring strength to those grieving.

The other songs were led by Nelson, who brought a small green ukulele to the memorial. The group sang “We Shall Overcome” and a political rendition of “Down By the Riverside,” which included verses encouraging people to vote, call their senators and elect female candidates.

“(Ginsburg’s) life work was to create equality for women,” said lawyer Elena Condes, who is running for an elected Alameda County Superior Court judge seat, at the event. “She showed that women and women of color belong in all places where decisions are being made and all places of authority.”

Condes and several others said Ginsburg’s life and death show the importance of elections and political involvement, as well as the necessity of speaking out against injustice.

Event attendees passed out postcards for people to fill out and send to registered voters to encourage them to vote.

“Elections have consequences. I don’t think anybody should really sit one out,” Condes said. “It’s so important that her life’s work not be in vain. … I do hope that we honor her legacy by continuing to protect those rights for women.”

Contact Kate Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.