Weekly Now: Associations Remember RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t just an iconic Supreme Court justice; she was also a leader in the world of nonprofit advocacy. Also: Music venues learn the value of working together on policy issues.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday evening brought on a wave of reflection and admiration for one of the most high-profile legal figures of the past century—including among associations and advocacy groups that counted Ginsburg as one of their own.

Years before she became a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg helped to create the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972. The ACLU notes that her work on the project was directly informed by limitations she faced early in her own legal career. Ginsburg, who started volunteering for the ACLU in the late 1960s, served as the project’s initial director.

“Ruth was careful to build brick upon brick,” Aryeh Neier, a former ACLU executive director, said in a tribute to Ginsburg. “She wanted to create a stable structure. She wasn’t interested in reaching for the roof right away. In my tenure at the ACLU, this was the most clearly planned litigation strategy.”

The American Bar Association noted the many honors it had bestowed upon Ginsburg. “Ginsburg made vast and lasting contributions to the law and to the profession. She was a commanding voice as an advocate for gender equality and a tenacious protector of the rule of law,” the ABA said in a statement. “She inspired generations of young lawyers in her lifetime. Although she will be greatly missed, her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of lawyers.”

Other news highlights:

Strength in numbers. In the six months since COVID-19 shutdowns led to the creation of the National Independent Venue Association, concert venues around the country have leveraged the power of collaboration on the advocacy front, according to Billboard [subscription]. Multiple other coalitions have launched as a direct result of COVID-19, including the Independent Promoter Alliance and the Black Promoters Collective.

The new name in financial security. Finseca, a new trade group in the life insurance field, officially got off the ground last week, the product of a merger between the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting and GAMA International. In a news release, Finseca CEO Marc Cardin said the group aims to improve financial security for all. “Everyone can benefit from conversations about money and having someone to turn to for personalized planning and advice,” he said. “Today’s launch of Finseca is the first step on a journey to make our profession into a beacon for American financial and retirement security—and I see incredible opportunities ahead.”

It’s All About the Framing

Sometimes, the best way to show leadership is to reveal a little vulnerability. Case in point: a tweet by Gretchen Goldman, Ph.D., research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, sharing a picture of the toy-strewn living room where she did a CNN interview.

The tweet drew attention to Goldman’s work defending science, but it also offered a glimpse of the challenges of parenting during a pandemic. The behind-the-scenes reality, captured in a photo by her husband, was typical for a workday, she told Slate a few days later.

“It was very normal,” she said. “The rest of the room also looked like that. … I guess part of it is that time is a premium. I’m not gonna prioritize picking up toys when there’s so much work to do, and I want to devote some time to playing with the kids.”

Sometimes a picture tells a story. Other times, you need two to tell it fully. So if you’re using effective framing during your Zoom calls, know that you’re not alone.


Our three-part series on hybrid workplaces ended last week. Here are the three parts, in case you want to dive in.

The school year is still new, and remote-working parents are facing unique challenges. Rasheeda Childress highlights some of them in a recent blog post.

If you’re ready to target Gen Z, there are plenty of interesting tactics to try. In a recent interview, XYZ University’s Sarah Sladek shared effective ways to engage younger audiences.

A mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington, DC’s U Street neighborhood. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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