New Yorkers gathered in Manhattan on Saturday to pay tribute to the life and work of Supreme Court Justice—and daughter of Brooklyn—Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "She’s an icon and a beacon of light and truth and demonstration of how to be a leader for the causes you care about," Allie, an East Village resident, said.
The pioneering force in gender equality died of cancer on Friday at the age of 87. Ginsburg grew up in Flatbush and Midwood, graduating from P.S. 238 and James Madison High School, before embarking on her legal career that led to her to the Supreme Court in 1993. She was one of nine female students at Harvard Law School, and later transferred to Columbia Law School, where she was tied for first in her class. While a professor at Rutgers, she was selected to lead the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in 1972, eventually arguing six cases in front of the Supreme Court and winning five. In 1972, she became the first tenured professor at Columbia Law School.
Around 6 p.m., dozens of people gathered near the fountain in Washington Square Park to light candles and reflect on Ginsburg's legacy. Many wore Ruth Bader Ginsburg T-shirts ("I dissent") or pins, while carrying signs reflecting on her legacy. They also sang anti-Trump parodies of popular songs, like "Amazing Disgrace," "Resist and Shout," and "Bye, Corona!," all set "in the key of F*You."
"She’s a fierce warrior for gender and equal rights for everyone—and a kickass no prisoners brilliant woman who dealt with patriarchy in a way that no one will ever forget," said K.C., a West Village resident. "I feel like her dying on Rosh Hashanah… it’s a way in which our future and hope is still there."
Allie, the East Village resident, expressed admiration for Ginsburg's style in arguing for her points, "She did so in a way that brought other people on board to what those beliefs were—and always cared about all people."
A significantly larger crowd gathered a couple of hours later at the steps of the New York State Supreme Court building. In addition to creating candlelit shrines and general memorializing, a rabbi was on hand to lead in the recitation of the Hebrew Mourner's Kaddish, while a group of singers and musicians called the Blacksmiths performed rousing renditions of classic spirituals.
With a battle already beginning over Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat, many of the mourners wore masks or pins or held signs exhorting people to vote.
Bridget, who was visiting from Philadelphia, said she hadn't lost hope with Ginsburg's death.
"I’ve felt ready to fight since 2016," she said.