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People celebrate the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg through vigil at Monroe County Courthouse


A man reads the mourner’s kaddish, a Jewish prayer, at a vigil for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 20 outside of the Monroe County Courthouse. The vigil included prayer, song and speeches from participants. Ethan Levy

Around 20 people gathered Sunday at the Monroe County Courthouse to hold a vigil for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg died Friday from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said in an announcement Friday. She was 87.

Participants stood in a circle, singing songs such as “We Shall Overcome” and talking about Ginsburg’s dignity in court, while also observing social distancing and wearing masks.

The vigil began at around 6 p.m. and disbanded at around 6:30 p.m.

Out of respect for Ginsburg’s Jewish heritage, one participant recited the Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer spoken during the period of bereavement. 

IU law professor Jeffrey Stake, a vigil participant, saw Ginsburg speak last year in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools.

“She is very active, very energetic,” Stake said. “Very dedicated to work.”

Ginsburg was a fighter for the rights of all people, David Keppel, a vigil participant and activist, said.

“Our ability to prevent war and to make a better world depends absolutely on the health of our democracy,” Keppel said.

Keppel said with PresidentDonald Trump working to fill the new Supreme Court opening before the November election, it is important for people to raise their voices in events like this and by contacting their senators.

“Don't assume just because someone is a Republican senator that our word doesn't matter to them,” Keppel said.

Alison Stake, another participant, is volunteering to make calls for the Democratic party and believes in the importance of speaking out.

“I would hope that it will inspire people to not take their civil rights for granted,” she said.

The group remembered all of Ginsburg's achievements as a lawyer and a judge during the vigil.

“She is an absolutely admirable person,” Keppel said.

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