PBS hosts a Sandra Day O’Connor special

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PBS’s docuseries American Experience featured a Sandra Day O’Connor special called “Sandra Day O’Connor: The First.” But first, Sarah Suggs the President and CEO of the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy shared how the justice fits into the arc of women’s history and how the institute that she created focuses on empowering and celebrating women.

“She shattered the glass ceiling for the judicial branch,” said Suggs. “I remember the day that announcement was made, I knew attorneys that wept that had to pull over to the side of the road because they couldn’t believe it.”

O’Connor broke many glass ceilings: one in the one in the attorney general’s office, one has senate majority leader and one in United States Supreme Court.

The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute is a non-profit that was founded by the justice herself to advance American democracy. It has three core values: civil discourse, civics education, and civic engagement.

One of the ways the institute promotes these values is through education. As Suggs points out, most Americans have only had one semester of civics education in the past 13 years.

“Our focus has been to fill in the gaps,” said Suggs.

The institute was formed in respond to a movement to save O’Connor’s historical home, which was scheduled for demolition. The home is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Sarah Suggs, President and CEO of the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy

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