As Americans took in the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), spoke to her followers on Instagram Live. After expressing her own deep sadness and grief over the loss of such an influential voice and leader, AOC implored those watching to keep fighting.
“I wanted to hop on because a lot of people were reaching out to me on Twitter and publicly and privately saying, ‘What now? What do we do? I’m scared. For those of you who don’t know, this vacancy on the court is extremely, extremely significant. It’s just earth-shattering, this kind of vacancy and this kind of tipping point is the difference between people having reproductive rights and the government controlling people’s bodies for them. This kind of vacancy makes the difference between LGBT people having marriage equality and full rights and not….the timing of this vacancy is extremely scary and unsettling to people, and I want to hop on tonight to talk to you about this and to talk to you about why now this moment is not the time for despair. It is not the time for cynicism. It is not the time to give up. It is not the time for us to say, ‘It’s too late’ or ‘it’s too far gone,’ or ‘I don’t know what to do.'”
As she reminded her followers that everything from labor rights to healthcare coverage are on the line, she encouraged them to remember Ginsburg’s final wishes and to honor them with their actions. She also mentioned that Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman to sit on the Supreme Court, and the fact that she died on the Jewish high holiday Rosh Hashanah “just adds even more weight and significance to this moment and particularly for our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community that are also kind of feeling the duality of that.”
“It was the very last statement…one of the last statements that she gave, to, I believe her granddaughter…her final wishes was that her vacancy and the vacancy on the court that she would leave behind not be filled until a new president is able to fill it…I think it’s incredibly heartbreaking that this is one of the last thoughts that was weighing on her shoulders before passing…Now is the time to tune in. Now is the time to really key in to our everyday decisions and I want you to know that if you’re a person that’s saying, ‘I don’t know what to do right now,’ don’t worry. We’ve got you. We will support you. We will help you figure out what to do…The reason that this question and I think that the reason that answering this question is so difficult is actually a reason for optimism. The reason it’s hard to tell you what to do is because everybody has something to give, and everybody has something unique to give…And part of figuring out what to do is not just waiting for someone to tell you what to do, but it’s actually looking into yourself and asking yourself ‘What do I want to give?’
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