Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been honored with a bronze statue in her home borough during Women’s History Month, just ahead of her 88th birthday on Monday, March 15.
On Friday, the statue created by husband-and-wife artist duo Gillie and Marc Schattner was unveiled at Brooklyn’s City Point by local politicians and leaders.
The statue is part of the Schattners’ 2019 “Statues for Equality” installation, a series of memorials for notable women that redresses the city’s dismal record of honoring women with statues. The statue of Bader Ginsburg is just the seventh statue of a nonfictional woman in the city.
Brooklyn Democratic Party leader and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn told the crowd at the unveiling that Justice Ginsburg, who was a product of Brooklyn, played an essential role in establishing modern law on equal protection and was a role model to Bichotte Hermelyn and everyone else.
“Justice Ginsburg inspired me to go to law school, I took time to study her opinions, typically progressive, usually the unpopular ones, because she was on the progressive side fighting for justice for each and every one of us,” she said, adding Justice Ginsburg left a legacy of fighting for human rights and gender equality.
“Her fight was for everyone, not just for men or women. Her legacy that is left with us today is for equality and justice, and as we remember her we are looking to all these other women to escalate in their ranks fighting for justice.”
Justice Ginsburg, who was born in Brooklyn in 1933 and died on Sept. 18 2021, was aware of the project, which the artists said reflected her wish to be portrayed in a dignified manner.
“With the two steps on its large base representing the Supreme Court and the climb she made to get there, the work is designed to provide the public with an opportunity to stand at her side, and gain inspiration from her journey fighting for equal rights,” the artists said in a statement.
Poet Mahogany L. Browne read poem “The sky already knows your name,” which included an epigraph from Justice Ginsburg; “The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.”
Browne said the importance of the statue was two-tiered: ensuring women were rightfully honored and also honoring a woman who had done so much to ensure equality was a part of the present and future.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told the crowd Justice Ginsburg was a respected daughter of Brooklyn, a legal path marker for gender equality and a believer in the promise of the country.
“It’s clear that a lifetime does not end when you transition from the physical to the spiritual, it continues. And her legacy around LGBT rights, women’s rights and rights of individuals around this entire city will continue even after she’s no longer with us,” he said.
Adams said it was unacceptable Justice Ginsburg was only the seventh women to be honored with a statue in the city when women had played a huge role in making the city what it was.
“We want young girls and boys to walk through these doors and ask their parents, ‘Who is this woman, what does she represent?’”
A separate statue of Ginsburg was planned by Governor Andrew Cuomo for Brooklyn Bridge Park and commissioned last fall, but there has been no progress reports of late.
The statue of Justice Ginsburg will be open daily free of charge at City Point’s Flatbush Avenue Ext. entrance from 10am–8pm. To make a reservation, click here.
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