Over 100 people came together Saturday evening in front of the Bexar County Courthouse to remember the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg, the second woman in U.S. history to be appointed to the Supreme Court, died Friday evening in her Washington, D.C., home of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. She was 87.
The Saturday night vigil, organized by San Antonio residents Celina Moreno and Marisa Bono, started at 7 p.m. and featured over 20 speakers, including U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and Bexar County District Judges Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, Stephanie Boyd, and Yolanda Huff.
The vigil opened with a blessing by Rabbi Mara Nathan of Temple Beth-el and a kaddish by Rachel Gurwitz. The women commented on the significance of Ginsburg’s passing on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and of Ginsburg’s Jewish faith.
The stairs of the courthouse were decorated with candles, rainbow flags, and flowers, and dozens of attendees held candles, posters, or wore “I dissent” T-shirts to honor Ginsburg. Speakers passed off the microphone over the course of the two-hour event, and music breaks between speakers allowed for people to chat over the sound of mariachi bands, solo guitarists, and poetry. Some members of the audience hugged, cried, and laughed together.
Speakers attested to Ginsburg’s historic legacy for women and the LGBTQ community, talking about how she paved the way for reproductive choice, maternity leave, and gay marriage.
Huff said that, as a Black woman, she doesn’t think she would be a judge today if it weren’t for the historic strides made by Ginsburg.
Gonzalez said she wanted to speak at the event because “Notorious RBG” was a member of the judiciary branch and paved the way for her as a woman.
Gonzalez applauded Ginsburg’s civility in discourse and said her friendship with fellow Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia proved that she was able to disagree yet be forceful in her own convictions.
San Antonio resident Jenn Caffery said she wanted to come out to the vigil to show her solidarity with those celebrating the life of Ginsburg. Her friend and fellow attendee Jean Shaw said Ginsburg was a force to be reckoned with.
“She held on as long as she could for the people depending on her,” Shaw said. Both women wore lace collars in Ginsburg’s memory.
Castro said he heard about the event both on Facebook and from several of his friends and felt it important to attend. As a father with two young children, Castro said he is thankful to Ginsburg for the opportunities she opened up for his daughter.
He added that Ginsburg left a lasting impact and moved the country forward. Ginsburg has died at a very critical time in our nation’s history, Castro said.
“The campaign for president was already very intense,” Castro said. “The stakes were already very high, and this makes them even higher.” He encouraged everyone to vote.
Castro also said he hopes the Trump administration will honor Ginsburg’s last wish of waiting for the president elected in November to decide on the new Supreme Court justice.
This story has been updated to correct the name of vigil organizer Celina Moreno.