Community Uniting: Gathering to ‘Honor Her Honor RBG.’
A group of locals are gathering on the Square in downtown Chambersburg at 4 this afternoon to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, often referred to as the Notorious RBG.
“For many folks in Franklin County, it is important to join together in a public way when significant national events occur,” said Sandy Grotberg, of Community Uniting!, sponsor of today’s event.
The event both connects and supports those grieving Ginsberg’s death, she said. It also provides an opportunity to show that local people care about issues and lives impacting the community.
It will be an informal, masked, socially distant gathering. Organizers ask people to bring a poster with a quotation, a way RBG affected their lives or some other form of expression to share their appreciation of the Notorious RBG.
Tribute to the Notorious RBG
Local opera singer, soloist and teacher Lisa Turchi has recorded one of Ginsberg’s favorite arias to be played during the downtown tribute to RGB’s life. Turchi will not attend the event due to prior commitments.
When asked if she would like to sing something from an opera locally in honor of RBG, she agreed. She was thrilled to have the opportunity, she said.
“Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s advocacy on behalf of others and her tremendous, tireless example to all working women and mothers is a true inspiration,” she said.
RBG was an ardent supporter of opera. She was often photographed with Chambersburg native and tenor Corey Evan Rotz at the Washington National Opera. She and the late Justice Antoin Scalia became friends with Rotz while attending National Opera performances.
In a tribute to Ginsberg on social media, Rotz said their friendship transcended politics.
“There were no rules to being her friend,” he said.
Ginsberg often talked about her love of the opera. She wowed audiences on Nov. 12, 2016 when she exchanged her robes for a costume to perform in WNO’s presentation of “The Daughter of the Regiment.”
Turchi chose an aria from one of Ginsberg’s favorite operas, Mozart’s Don Giovanni,” for her tribute.
Grotberg never had an opportunity to meet Ginsberg personally, but she has been aware over the years of how RBG’s work as an attorney, and later as a Supreme Court justice, has affected her life.
“When I was newly single after my marriage ended in 1983, I tried to get a credit card at Sears in my own name,” she recalls. “Even though I had been on what I thought was a ‘joint’ credit card for some 15 years, I apparently had no ‘credit.'”
RBG’s winning case at the Supreme Court in 1974 changed that, but the policy still wasn’t enacted locally. Eventually, after appealing, Sears came around with a card for Grotberg, and an apology. But, she said, that would not have happened without Ginsberg’s work on behalf of gender equality.
About Community Uniting
“RBG said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you,” Community Uniting! member Ronni Cook recalls.
“This is what Community Uniting! is all about,” she said. “Formed in reaction to hatred and bigotry, we strive to counter with kindness, inclusion and understanding. Just as RBG stood up for justice for all, including women’s rights, our group embraces all; speaks up against injustice, and offers encouragement to build MLK’s “Beloved Community.””
In addition to the Ginsberg remembrance vigil today, Community Uniting! has sponsored public speakers and films; held vigils on the Square and sponsored community “Gratitude Walks,” booths at local festivals and befriended a local refugee family.
The organization has also taken up collections for material and financial needs of local individuals and groups, had some interfaith dinners, and have an email newsletter of local “Uniting Events.”
Anyone can be added to Community Uniting!s email list by contacting [email protected] The organization’s meetings are currently by Zoom, occurring at least monthly.