Monday, March 15 would have been Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 88th birthday. Justice Ginsburg passed away last year, on September 18, 2020.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, it makes sense her birthplace would mobilize quickly to honor her this year. March 15 is now declared Justice Ginsburg Day in Brooklyn and a 6-foot bronze statue of the late Supreme Court Justice was unveiled last Friday, March 12, at City Point Brooklyn, allowing people to reserve tickets for safe viewing over this past weekend and on her birthday.
(Credit for the featured image above goes to Kevin Duggan with the Brooklyn Paper. Pictured are Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and Borough President Elect Eric Adams.)
I love that the statue is 6-feet tall, symbolizing the notorious stature of Justice Ginsburg, who was actually 5-feet, 1-inch. The statue is not so tall that she seems out of reach, but tall enough where many of us will have to look up to her, per usual.
The statue was designed and created by sculptors Gillie and Marc Schattner, who started Statues for Equality when out of 100 statues commissioned, only 1 was of a woman! They realized something had to be done about the lack of representation of women in public spaces and they set out to tackle this inequity. Their ambitious kick-off began on August 26, 2019, Women’s Equality Day, in New York City where they displayed 10 life-sized bronze statues of notable women along 6th Avenue.
Statues for Equality has a goal: “They are calling on artists to help them to reach their aim of 50% representation of women in public statues around the world by 2025.” This lofty mission cannot be accomplished alone; other artists and organizations are doing their part to contribute.
One such organization is Monumental Women, responsible for the statue Women’s Rights Pioneers depicting Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, dedicated in Central Park last summer. Read about it here: Breaking the Bronze Ceiling: One Inspiring Public Sculpture at a Time!
The plaque standing beside the statue of Justice Ginsburg reads:
U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg has devoted her life’s work to promoting equal justice for all – as the pioneering director of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing landmark cases on gender equality before the Supreme Court of the United States, as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as the second woman to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Ginsburg’s lifelong commitment to equal justice has inspired millions worldwide.
Recognizing the importance of gender equality and to increase parity in public art, Gillie and Marc created a bronze statue of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was unveiled during Women’s History Month to commemorate the judicial giant and bring her ‘pathmarking’ spirit to Brooklyn.
“We had the honor and privilege to create Justice Ginsburg’s distinguished likeness in everlasting bronze as part of Statues for Equality. 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.” – Gillie and Marc, March 2021
On the Statues for Equality website, there are 10 answers to the question: Why Is a Female Statue So Important? Each answer is valid, but number 5 strikes me as most poignant in this instance:
“Public statues tell stories of success and empowerment. There is no greater way to show success than to immortalize a story for the world to see. Public statues ensure that the story will live on long after the person has passed, teaching and inspiring future generations. It is so important to give this empowerment to women and to honor their success, both for the individual and society as a whole. There are many many women, both throughout history and today who have made an impact that deserves this platform. It is time to empower women and let these stories be known.”
Prior to and during her 27 years on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly and courageously for equal rights and women’s rights and through her example we are called on to do our part.
Justice Ginsburg said: “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”
Safe to say she is indeed remembered this way. And some.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Notable Nasty Woman.
© Maria Dintino 2021
Cascone, Sarah. “New York City Unveils a Permanent Statue of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Her Native Brooklyn.” Artnet News, 12 March 2021. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/ruth-bader-ginsburg-statue-brooklyn-1951405