September 18th, 2020 is a day of mourning for the legal community around the world. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, aged 87, after serving on the Supreme Court of the United States for a little over 27 years.
She was the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant and her mother was also born to Jewish immigrants but from Austria. In her early years the Holocaust was happening to her people, even though she was far away from the place in which this awful event took place, she must have suffered because of it.
Not many years before her birth, the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution was passed, and women just gained the right to vote in the United States. She also lived through times when anti-miscegenation laws prohibited interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations among other things. She saw many things change through her lifetime.
To make a career as a lawyer, or any profession for that at her time as a student and at the beginning of her career, she suffered from discrimination for the simple fact that she was a woman. Not much was expected at the time professionally for women and nevertheless she kept fighting.
She had a strong belief in equality, certainly on human rights but also on discrimination in general. She was in favor of affirmative action programs and believed in respecting the law, all the law, including international law which she cited many times.
She believed that affirmative action programs would lead to equality and advance specially for vulnerable groups affected by unemployment, lack of health care and quality education as well as poverty. She believed that everyone has the same rights regardless of their nationality, race, religion, among others.
The African Promise has a value that is certainly in line with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s principles. She achieved, against the odds not only to be a Justice in the Supreme Court of the United States but an icon in equality and a warrior against discrimination.
I’m sure that one day, a letter like this will be written praising the African Promise results. Because something has been wrong for a long time, it does not mean that it cannot be changed. Courage is needed to step up and gain a place in the world. The world is becoming smaller with technology and every day we gain more access to knowledge and people we didn’t have before.
I know that the day in which everyone will be included and considered in the arbitration world is very near, there’s still much to do, but also much has been done and the African Promise will always be remembered as a cornerstone of this achievement.
Dr. Ernesto Briseno, MCIArb.
Abogado, Ispayur, Madrid, Spain