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I Dissent: A Conversation for Kids with Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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In honor of the life of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away one month ago, this post shares highlights from her 2017 visit to the Library’s Young Readers Center. Justice Ginsburg met with a group of third grade students to discuss “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” with author Debbie Levy. In the conversation, Ginsburg shared advice for making change in the world and persuading those who disagree with you, among other topics. Highlights and the full video are included below.

What is the best advice that you can give us for changing things in the world?

  • Join together with other people who feel like you because there’s strength in numbers. If you just try to do things all by yourself, you’re not going to get very far. You need a team to work with you to achieve what you think is important.

What would you like the students to learn or to understand from your own less-than-equal experience as a girl and young woman?

  • I would like the students to know that they can be free to be you and me. That is, free to do whatever you have the talent and are willing to work hard enough to do; that there are no closed doors.

Why did you want to stand up for equal rights?

  • Because I thought everybody should have a fair chance to do what they can do best, and I also thought about how I would like the world to be for my children…I want the world to give them a fair chance to do whatever they want to do if they’re willing to do the hard work that it takes. And nobody should be able to say, “No, you can’t do this” because you’re a boy or because you’re a girl.

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