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New Yorkers mourn Justice Ginsburg’s passing; Cuomo announces Brooklyn statue

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A vigil is reportedly planned for Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington Square Park at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Another is said to be scheduled for Foley Square, down by the courts, at 8 p.m.

Yet another event for the pioneering feminist jurist was reportedly going to happen at 2 p.m. in Union Square on Saturday, but did not occur.

Regardless of which vigils actually do or don’t occur, Ginsburg’s death at age 87 on Fri., Sept. 18 — the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year — sent shockwaves across America. Her passing comes in the midst of a turbulent election season and moment in America, with the coronavirus pandemic still not brought under control and continuing racial and social unrest.

President Trump promptly announced that he plans to fill the liberal icon’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and will not delay the decision until next term. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, dutifully said the Senate would hold a vote on Trump’s nominee.

At stake if the court gets another conservative member are abortion rights, immigration policy, healthcare, voting rights and more.

Meanwhile, the organizer of the Washington Square vigil, Ke Walcott, said the event is first and foremost for grieving the loss of the judicial great.

“This is not about what’s next, though that is important,” Walcott posted on Facebook. “This is about needing a space for collective mourning for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“This weekend, we hold space for mourning. Monday, we pick up the fight.

“Wear white. Bring candles. Honor her life and work.

“Bring signs that emphasize what she did for us all. Her words, her decisions. Let’s lift up her memory together.

“I know we need to do more than this. But right now, I feel it’s important to gather (safely; with masks; 6 feet apart) to grieve.”

In addition, Governor Cuomo on Saturday announced that New York State will honor the life and legacy of Justice Ginsburg with a statue in the borough of her birthplace, Brooklyn. The governor will appoint a commission to select an artist and oversee the location selection process.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg selflessly pursued truth and justice in a world of division, giving voice to the voiceless and uplifting those who were pushed aside by forces of hate and indifference,” Cuomo said. “As a lawyer, jurist and professor, she redefined gender equity and civil rights and ensured America lived up to her founding ideals — she was a monumental figure of equality, and we can all agree that she deserves a monument in her honor.

“She persevered despite several bouts of cancer and was present every single day to participate in the strengthening and safeguarding of our democracy,” Cuomo said. “Her 27 years on the court reshaped our understanding of the basic tenets of equality and justice.

“While the family of New York mourns Justice Ginsburg‘s death, we remember proudly that she started her incredible journey right here in Brooklyn,” the governor said. “Her legacy will live on in the progress she created for our society, and this statue will serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today and as an inspiration for those who will continue to build on her immense body of work for generations to come.”

The commission will be appointed in the coming days and will provide recommendations to Cuomo on the design, location and installation of the new memorial. The commission will do broad outreach to the art community, including to art institutions and organizations, as well as direct artist outreach. 

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