I Dissent
by Joanie HF Zosike

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time. (1)

Unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. (2)

They have never been a 13-year-old girl. (1)

Her pioneering life’s work to advance women’s equality. (3)

Beacon of hope. (4)

A cage pretending to be a pedestal. (1)

Dissents speak to a future age. (1)

Each person will be judged by individual merit not on the basis of an unalterable trait of birth. (1)

Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg. (5)

Ginsburg had long admitted that her collars carry distinct meanings—such as her “Majority Opinion” and “Dissent” jabots. (6)

I have to somehow surmount whatever is going on in my body and concentrate on the court’s work. (1)

Notorious RGB (7)

So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune. (1)

Brooklyn-born daughter of Russian Jews. (8)

Unnerved by her long pauses between sentences (8)

Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true (1)

Ginsburg was to women what Thurgood Marshall was to Blacks (9)


  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  2. Barak Obama
  3. Susan Hyman, lawyer
  4. Kate McKinnon
  5. Heather Cox Richardson,
  6. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country
  7. A meme created by former NYU law student Shand Knizhnik on her blog, summer 2013
  8. Linda Greenhouse, New York Times, 9/18/2020
  9. Organization of American Historians

PHOTO: Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Sebastian Kim (2015), Time Magazine.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR (In Memoria): “The only confining thing for me is time,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said. She managed to outrun time for 87 years. She fought like a demon to stay alive, to keep working, because she knew her mission was crucial. She believed sexual liberation (she preferred the word “gender” because she thought there might among critics be a prurient focus on the word “sex”) would benefit both men and women. She said, “Tackling gender discrimination was, case by case, like knitting a sweater.” Just so, she defended a widowed father seeking social welfare to facilitate his being his baby’s caregiver. His case helped proved her point that such social benefits (which would automatically go to a widow) were a reasonable request. She viewed childcare to not be a sex-determined role provided only by a woman. ¶ She was a prime mover, one of the most stalwart prime movers of our times, and it is with admiration and love that I compiled the acrostic below, comprised of quotes from and about the monumental presence who left this earth just this past Friday, the eve of Rosh Hashanah 5781 (September 18, 2020 AD). Every time I think of her, tears fill my eyes. Her courage, her dignity, her sense of humor, her humanity was prodigious. The changes she wrought during her lifetime are inestimable. I am haunted by a communique to her granddaughter dictated from her death bed: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie HF Zosike, 2019 Writer’s Hotel Sara Patton poetry stipend recipient and August 2020 Featured Poet in The New Guard’s BANG!, teaches School for Creative Judaism’s Pandemic Poetry Workshop.  She is published in Between Ourselves: Letters Between Mothers and Daughters, Women In American Theatre, and 11/9: The Fall of American Democracy. Chapbooks include Character Poems  and Bliss, Not Weight (anthologized in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, Silver Birch Press, 2015). A frequent contributor to Silver Birch Press’s blog, she also appears in Bastille, Dissident Voice, Heresies, Home Planet News, Jewish Forward, Levure Literraire, Maintenant, Public Illumination Magazine (PIM), and Syndic. Author of seven full-length plays and four solo theatre works, she received an Albee fellowship for her play Inside, produced at American Theater for Actors, and a Foundation for Jewish Culture grant for …and Then the Heavens Closed, performed at The Jewish Museum in New York City. She acted with The Living Theatre for 30+ years, directs/acts with DADAnewyork, and co-directs Action Racket Theatre.