This week brought with it two painful blows. One, the world had lost a true feminist icon, a fighter for equality, and a steward of justice with the death of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The political battle over filling her seat began almost immediately, with the fate of reproductive freedom, gender equality, voting rights and so much more hanging in the balance in the United States.
Then, while still immersed in grief, we learned there would be no justice for Breonna Taylor, as a grand jury in Kentucky failed to indict any police officers on charges directly related to killing her. Not one person will face criminal charges for killing Beonna Taylor, an innocent Black woman who was gunned down in her own home.
Justice Ginsberg’s legacy and the outcome of the Breonna Taylor grand jury reminded us that our laws exist at the limits of our collective imagination. Justice is an idea that pushes those limits because its measure is fairness. How can the administration of law be fair without dismantling the deeply unfair systems that Breonna and other Black and Brown women live under every day?
Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger expressed what so many of us are feeling, when she said: “Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and this blatant disregard for her life is just another example of the injustice that Black women face in this country, and the continuing failure of our justice system to protect Black lives . . . Now, more than ever, we must listen to leaders calling to transform a system that does not serve or protect Black lives.”
Alexander Hamilton argued in Essay 35 of The Federalist Papers that the U.S. Constitution did not need to ensure that the House of Representatives was made up people from every social class. He believed that even if only merchants, landowners, and educated white men were in elected office, they would understand – and safeguard – the deep interdependent interests of all people in society. Further, that the power of the vote would hold elected men accountable.
Injustice puts U.S. democracy at risk. We have to do more.
We know women’s funds and foundations are a global chorus working to expand our collective imagination by supporting grassroots advocacy groups, challenging lawmakers, and demanding accountability from public officials at all levels of government all over the world.
For Ruth, for Breonna — let us continue to honor their memories through our unwavering fight for justice. Thank you for all you do, and for continuing to hold a new vision for our communities that is truly fair and just for all.
Yours for equity and justice,
Women’s Funding Network
President & CEO