NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has touched people around the nation, especially in the city she grew up and studied in.

A memorial took place Saturday night at Washington Square Park for the liberal icon and champion for gender equality, who died Friday at the age of 87 after a long bout with cancer, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported.

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The legendary justice’s impact is being felt far and wide in our area, particularly for women within the law community.

“It was devastating. It’s a loss. It’s a loss in so many ways,” said Marilyn Ford, a professor at Quinnipiac University.

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Ford spent two years as a law student at Rutgers University in the early 1970s, studying under Justice Ginsburg when she was a professor.

“Fighting for what you believe, standing up for what you believe. Many of the other professors when their classes were over they went to their office, and you didn’t see them until the next class,” Ford said. “With Professor Ginsburg, you saw her and she was active.”

Ford said in her own role as a law professor now, she takes inspiration from her old teacher.

“She opened doors in many ways for me. She made you think big. You know, you can accomplish whatever you want to accomplish. And one of the things that I really take away from Justice Ginsburg is her ability to speak truth to power, to be a dissenter, but not an obstructionist.”

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas never met Ginsburg, but said she is where she is because of the late justice’s trailblazing.

“What a hero for all of us, for women, for those who don’t have a voice, for the oppressed. Just a trailblazing jurist, lawyer. And as a mom, as a woman, as a lawyer, myself, you know, I’m profoundly saddened by her loss and that important voice,” Singas said.

Singas added we can all learn from Ginsburg’s legacy.

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“She overcame such obstacles. And yet, she continued to keep her eye on the prize, that we would always celebrate people’s diversity while maintaining their dignity and ensuring that we fight for their rights,” Singas said.

NYU student Caroline Couch told CBS2 she wrote the justice a letter.

“Thank you on behalf of me and so many other young women across this country for all the inspiration that she’s provided to us,” Couch said.

Manhattan resident Ken Kidd, a gay man, said Ginsburg changed his life.

“The beautiful thing about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that she believed in equality and she believed in things worth struggling for. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — RBG — gave me equal marriage. She made me have a place at the table that I didn’t before. I’m forever in her debt. We’re all forever in her debt,” Kidd said.

So, there was a lot of sadness Saturday, but also a lot of hope when people reflect on Ginsburg’s story.

In addition to the memorial, there were several other gatherings in the area designed to pay tribute to her incredible life.

Over at the New York State Supreme Court, many came with signs and candles, and others expressed their mourning through song and prayer as they paid homage to Ginsburg.

“She was such a champion for women, a role model, an inspiration. So moral and grounded,” New Yorker Victoria Gorski said.

“There’s something about her spirit that women who were her age could relate with her and also younger women,” another person said.

Those at the vigil said the justice paved the way forward for so many Americans. Dozens took to a cloth laid out in front of the courthouse to express their gratitude through messages and portraits.

“This is a place today for grieving, but also maybe an expression for what we’re fighting for, what is it that she brought that she was fighting for,” said mural organizer Adela Wagner.

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