I have a personal memory, which I shall always treasure, of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. No, I did not know her personally. Nor did we ever “meet” in the usual sense of the word.
In 2004, I applied to and was admitted into the US Supreme Court Bar. One slightly overcast April morning, along with other successful applicants being sworn in that day, I walked into the main chamber of the Court. We took our seats in the front row, just in front of the robed justices on their high benches.
We sat and listened to the arguments – I no longer remember what the case was about. During a break, and at the appointed signal, along with my group I stood up and moved forward to be sworn in. Of the group of ten we were about two females. I was the only person of color. Standing with our right hands raised we solemnly took the oath. I looked up at the justices who were smiling benevolently down on us. Except for RBG who caught my eye and winked at me!
That wink was so unexpected yet so reassuring and welcoming. RBG’s gesture helps me to understand why this trailblazer on gender equality and other core human rights issues also became a pop culture icon.
I experienced another moment with a trailblazer just this week. The occasion was a virtual event, hosted by South South Women, which focused on building bridges for trade between Africa and the Caribbean. On the call were women and men from countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, interested in making a reality the vision of South-South trade and breaking neo-colonial trading patterns. Zaynah Africa, the founder of South South Women, shared two rules on which she has relied to successfully build South-South partnerships:
- Investing with entrepreneurs in a development process instead of searching for quick profits; and
- Following the 4-Ps – Patience, Presence, Perseverance, People – work with reliable and trustworthy counterparts who understand the intricacies of the system(s) on both sides.
Wise words, I think. I also find it inspiring that out of the tragedy of the pandemic comes these magical moments, courtesy of the communication technologies with which we are becoming increasingly comfortable. The pandemic has created opportunities and, paraphrasing Zaynah, what the world needs now are visionaries, risk takers, trailblazers … like RBG.
In RBG’s memory, I commit to being a trailblazer, to standing up for what I believe or know to be right and just. In my chosen practice area, that commitment means continuing to provide advice and solutions in keeping with the vision of DevelopTradeLaw to –
Advance Caribbean and African economies to take their place as informed and equal partners in the global training arena, bringing economic development to the region and advanced economic opportunities to their citizens. Support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses operating in the global market.
What new global opportunities are you working on with which I can assist? Let’s connect.