ITHACA, N.Y. –– As part of a national campaign to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, local women have signed on to organize an Ithaca march and rally celebrating RBG’s legacy –– one of 250 taking place across the country.

The event is set to take place both in-person (socially distanced) and online on Saturday, Oct. 17 starting at 11 a.m. The in-person portion — the march — will be a sort of relay in place of a traditional march. Instead of people gathering at a starting point and ending at a large rally, marchers will sign up for a specific starting place along the march route and walk alone or in small groups to ensure proper social distancing.

“Creating a plan for a protest that respects the hard work of the Cornell and Ithaca College communities to keep our community safe from COVID has been challenging,” said local organizer Jana Hexter. “But we see it as a potential prototype of how citizens can protest the further degradation of democracy and justice in this country while maintaining the health of our community.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wearing her iconic “dissent collar”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wearing her iconic “dissent collar”

At the start time, attendees will walk alone or with their small household groups while again, maintaining social distance along the route. Marchers must wear masks and are encouraged by organizers to wear their RBG “dissent collars.”

For those who don’t want to come in person, they can connect with walkers through Facebook to send their wishes and encouragement as they walk or serve as a supportive bystander along the route.

Pre-registration is required for the march, and the virtual rally will take place afterward at 3:00 p.m.

“It’s different,” said Hexter, “but it will be fun and effective. We intend to create a human chain of love and justice among members of our community whether they walk or support the events from home. This is the defining moment for our generation, and we are determined to find a way for Ithacans to take to the streets to protest without threatening the health of our loved ones and burdening our health care workers.”

Women’s March, a grassroots organizing group based out of Washington D.C. that coordinates nationwide protests for women’s issues, is the originator of the Oct. 17 action, having created an online platform for organizers to advertise their events and join in with the hundreds of other group leaders. 

The march and rally are sponsored by a national coalition including Women’s March Win, Coalition of Labor Union Women, MomsRising, NARAL, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Votes, She the People, SuperMajority, UltraViolet, and #VOTEPROCHOICE.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg has a special legacy in Ithaca as a Cornell alumna, and this march will strive to commemorate her connection to the area. Marchers will be walking from an off-campus location near her old dorm room, down to the Tompkins County courthouse, where they will be invited to leave letters for legislators, and items to honor RBG on the courthouse steps before looping back to their starting point.

At the virtual rally, speakers including Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles and Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University, Dr. Risa Lieberwitz will touch on RBG’s commitment to women’s rights and For more information and forthcoming details on how to register for a place in the march, visit the local Ithaca RBG march website here.

For more information about Oct. 17 events around the country, you can visit the national women’s march website here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at