MINNEAPOLIS -- A crowd gathered at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis on Sunday night, Sept. 20, for a candlelight vigil to honor the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg, who for decades as a lawyer and judge was a champion of equality — particularly gender equality — died Friday at age 87.

In recent years Ginsburg had drawn heightened fame not just for her legal stances and sharply written opinions and dissents, but also for her tenacity as she fought through multiple rounds of cancer.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued a joint proclamation declaring Monday, Sept. 21, to be "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Day" in the Twin Cities.

Minnesota attorney Amy Bergquist served as a clerk for Ginsburg a decade ago. She told MPR News on Saturday that Ginsburg "played things for the long game."

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In her dissent in Ledbetter v. Goodyear in 2007, Ginsburg called on Congress to pass legislation that would override the court's decision that drastically limited back pay available for victims of employment discrimination. The resulting legislation was the first bill passed in 2009 after President Barack Obama took office.

Minnesota first lady Gwen Walz speaks alongside her husband, Gov. Tim Walz, at the vigil Sunday night in Minneapolis. Caroline Yang for MPR News
Minnesota first lady Gwen Walz speaks alongside her husband, Gov. Tim Walz, at the vigil Sunday night in Minneapolis. Caroline Yang for MPR News

"Her legacy is not necessarily to be writing blockbuster opinions but to be pointing the way forward, for the moral arc of the universe to be bending toward justice," said Bergquist, who is now a senior attorney for the Minneapolis-based Advocates for Human Rights.

Erin Maye Quade, advocacy director at Gender Justice which organized Sunday's vigil, told MPR News on Saturday that she'd been thinking about how Ginsburg's approach to women's equality extended to equal rights more broadly.

"She was so clear on the humanity of people, and spoke to that so often from the bench," said Maye Quade, a former state representative. "She had this clarity of vision about what equality looks like and what it means to equal justice under the law, equal rights under the law, and that's going to be hard to replace."

National Public Radio contributed to this report.