Brooklynites came together on Sunday outside of the Brooklyn Municipal Building to honor the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the trailblazing United States Supreme Court associate justice whose death this weekend marked the end of an era — and her nearly three decades serving the country’s highest federal court.
Ginsburg, who was born in Brooklyn in 1933 and grew up in the Midwood area, died Friday at the age of 87. Her death sent shockwaves through the country — and prompted city and state leaders to quickly call for memorials.
At Sunday’s remembrance, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and others echoed those calls. Adams, who hosted the public memorial, called on the city to rename the Brooklyn Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon St. after Ginsburg.
“I am who I am because she was who she was, that is why this is so important and we need to be clear on the narrative that she not only made one gender great, she made America great,” Adams said at the remembrance. “It’s only fitting that we painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ here, but now we must demand that the mayor of the city of New York no longer delay and put her name on the municipal building to show the respect for her legacy, and that’s taken too long. She should have seen it while she was alive.”
A graduate of James Madison High School, Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. She would serve there for 13 years until President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993; the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed her nomination in a 96-3 vote.
Attendees Sunday — including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Senator and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Councilwoman Farah Louis, Assemblymembers Robert Carroll and Jo Anne Simon and New York State Women’s Bar Association President Joy Thompson — agreed that a renaming of the Brooklyn Municipal Building would be a fitting tribute for the borough native, who became widely known as a feminist icon, and a champion for equal rights.
“On so many ways she led, because she was not only a woman and a lawyer, but she was a mother and she paved the path for so many of us, for all of us,” said Simon.
The best way forward, Williams said, is to persist.
“I want to make sure that we are doing the best we can to keep the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg alive. And that means even if you’re tired, you have to keep pushing forward and fighting for those who have the least among us and fighting for those who haven’t got equality and equity,” he told the crowd. “We can take some of the light that she left us to protect those who need protection and to disagree where we need to disagree and keep pushing forward, she did that for so many of us.”
This isn’t the first time Adams has called for such a renaming. In September 2018, the beep penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him to use his executive power to christen Downtown’s stately, columned structure across the street from Borough Hall for the Supreme Court justice. In March 2019 — on Ginsburg’s 86th birthday — he urged the city again to consider the renaming.
“Let’s name the Brooklyn Municipal Building after her as a gift!” he tweeted at the time.
“She represents what’s great about this borough of Brooklyn,” Adams said Sunday. “I call on all of us to ensure our country becomes what her legacy represented.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane