March 21st marked a historic day for Americans, but especially for us as Black women and as law students. For the first time in history, a Black woman would be considered for the position of Supreme Court Justice. I am so happy to collaborate with my sister, Jada, on this series of posts from both of our blogs! Be sure to head on over to Jada Unpublished and subscribe so you can read all about our experience showing up for Black women and keep up with Jada's blog! ✨
Demand Justice, the Black Public Defenders Association, and NBLSA arranged for Black law students to be flown to Washington D.C. for an opportunity to not only meet other public defenders and legal professionals, but to also physically show up for Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson. This would be the Have Her Back: Day of Action!
We started our day off bright and early and rode to New Orleans where we would be flying out from and headed to Washington D.C. We were excited as we were headed to show up for Black women in this very historic way!
This was truly a moment in herstory, and we will forever be changed by this experience. We made headlines from all over, showing our support as Black law students, to the very first Black woman Supreme Court Justice nominee and now Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson.
In order to go to D.C., we had to write a short essay describing why we should be selected and what it would mean to us. What a heavy question. When I sat down to write the essay, I kept wanting to say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but saying that did not feel right. When we arrived to D.C. and began to experience the moment, we were able to network with Black attorneys and other Black law students. I was overjoyed and I again wanted to believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Then it clicked for me and I said, "no this is not a once in a lifetime opportunity, this is our future." As historical as Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson's confirmation is, it is just as much futuristic. #TheFutureisBlack It is the epitome of what we mean when we say our ancestors "paved the way" or "opened doors for us." This confirmation has broken down the doors, barriers, and red tape physically and mentally for many Black people. As a natural over thinker I have so many thoughts on what my future looks like and for the first time I feel like it's attainable. Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson makes my goals feel real. Since KBJ stepped on the scene, I have been learning more and more about who she is, and as we all know, she is that girl!
Judge Brown-Jackson was voted most likely to succeed and she wrote in her high school yearbook that she would be a judge. Like her, I was voted most likely to succeed and I've always said that I am going to argue in front of the Supreme Court. KBJ just broke the ceiling, the sky is the limit for my legal career. Now, I not only want to argue in front of the Supreme Court, but I know that I can sit on the court too.
While in D.C., we technically had no idea that she would be confirmed, but the energy and the spirit of all those participating in the Have Her Back Day of Action confirmed that we didn't have anything to worry about. Now, I must say naive Jada was in the room heavy, because I was so filled with joy from showing up for a Black woman that I forgot we live in AmeriKKKa. First, the pro-life protestors popped up bringing hate and COVID to the party, but I still believed everything would be okay because what's Black excellence without white haters? Then, once the hearings began, I realized the Republicans wanted to fight. They tried so hard to keep up all the barriers, doors, and red tape that we are trying to remove. We can officially celebrate the confirmation of JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN-JACKSON! 🎉 Showing up for a Black woman needs to look like more of us vowing to enter into these spaces without the fight. I'm over the working ten times harder rhetoric, I'm over being so resilient and so graceful that we have to suffer to win. I'm over hardening myself and believing I am incapable of being respected without having to prove my worth when my resume and my work speaks for itself. #Preachhh
Quoting Jalyn Radziminski, "Don't get me wrong - the nomination of Judge KBJ is a historic moment. But why are we normalizing a Black woman being verbally and emotionally abused by a committee for the public to see...The resilience you all expect of Black women is outdated...I hope we all think about how we can support Black Women that want to lead without trauma involved." The fight continues. What happened to Justice Brown-Jackson should not have been allowed. I recently learned that confirmation hearings started in 1916 when a Jewish lawyer, Louis Brandeis, was nominated to the Supreme Court because the Protestant white men had a temper tantrum (the same ones they are having now). If you think the badgering that was done in these hearings are just apart of the process, they are not, they are discriminatory in its founding and in its continuance. Minorities suffer the worst of it, because the questions directed at us are nothing short of microaggressions or as I like to call them macroaggressions, because there is nothing small about them or how they make you feel.
The confirmation of Justice Brown-Jackson is a step toward systemic change but we also need to talk about all the diversity and inclusion initiatives in real time. If we are going to show up for Black women and Black people in general, it's more than just hiring us, but changing the systems, changing the hiring processes (since the hearings just proved what type of conversations you have about us behind closed doors), changing the culture. They tear our resumes apart trying to find an ounce of inferiority to make themselves feel better, but since this is our future, we will no longer allow it!
"Not only are we going to take up these spaces but they are going to learn how to deal with us in them."
The Future is Black. Not only are we going to take up these spaces but they are going to learn how to deal with us in them. #AndIs We also will not shrink ourselves and all of who we are to make others comfortable. Our future is making sure Black women no longer have to endure suffering in order to succeed. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have witnessed herstory and to be a part of our future! We're showing up for a Black Woman and loving Black Women to infinity to infinity! ✨